Sunday, May 27, 2012

Memorial Day memories

Growing up in Illinois, school was still in session during this holiday, although exams and proms, etc. were winding things down.  However, being a LHS band member (playing first chair, first clarinet), this holiday meant a parade through the streets of town.  Unlike our performances at football games, we didn't have to worry about freezing our ears off, but, sometimes, the day could be hot and our wool suits would be uncomfortably warm.  We'd gather at the school, take the bus to the library, and join the "other" high school band and junior high bands, before tee-tum, tee-tum, the drummers (Gail and Joan) would hit the rim and we would march off, instruments tucked under our arms until our leader gave us the signal to start play.  Off course, we had Sousa marches (Linda would trill on the picolo), and Battle Hymn of the Republic and the Marine's Hymn.  If we were lucky, we'd get to cue up a short version of "When the Saints Came Marchin' In", but since our town was pretty "white-bread and American cheese", we didn't veer into this song very often.  We'd end up at the cemetary and our trumpeter would play taps to end the morning on a somber, reflective note.

Then, off came those nasty, sweaty uniforms as fast as we could strip back at school, on with seer- sucker shorts, tops and tennies and then--probably to meet up with our families for a picnic at Wing Park.  Some holidays, my family did a picnic at my grandparent's farm if my out of town cousins were coming from Indiana, or maybe just gather in our backyard for burgers, hot dogs, and watermelon.  If the season were ripe for it, my mom or grandmother might bake a rhubarb pie and vanilla ice cream on top would cool off our tongues at the end of a meal.

So that's a flavor of my memory bank on Memorial Day, what is yours?

Sunday, May 20, 2012

just because

Just because it's Sunday and I have made a promise to myself to write,
Just because it's beginning (early) to feel like summer and so staying inside until the sun sets makes sense, but I am getting anxious and ready to bolt for the outside,
Just because there will be a partial solar eclipse in less than two hours but I don't have the right kind of glasses to wear to watch it,
Just because I love good stories and I have been watching "...Deathly Hollows Part 1" for the fifth time before "Game of Thrones" which starts in five minutes (unless I postpone it until later since HBO runs it three times tonight)--
my posting tonight is brief.

Monday, May 14, 2012

take me out to the ballgame

As far back as I can remember, I have loved baseball.  Playing catch with my dad in the backyard in Elgin, Illinois is one of those few memories I have of us actually having fun together.  At least once during the summer, he would take my sister and I into Comisky Park to watch the White Sox and we'd come home exhausted, sunburned and full of hot dogs and peanuts.  Before every sport was televised, baseball games would be on the radio and I recall my dad stretched out on the picnic table, listening to a game on his transistor radion, after an early morning chore such as cutting the grass or painting the trim on the house and/or garage.

As an adult, even though every sport under the sun is on some cable or regular t.v. channel, baseball remains my favorite.  In an afternoon or evening, watching a game relaxes as much as (I imagine) Valium could.  A few years ago, my hubby and I started to go to a few summer league games but I admit that the Bank One-Chase Field Stadium in Phoenix for the Diamondbacks sets a pretty high bar for the ultimate baseball experience.  So, for my Mother's Day weekend, more than flowers (though my hubby bought me a sweet peach-tinted carnation bouquet and, with our son, we enjoyed a Sunday evening dinner at Pastiche), what I wanted was to be at a game in Phoenix. 

A couple of our friends joined us and even though the Giants beat the DBacks, we had fun.  We watched, on a high-definition screen, a young man propose to his girlfriend ("April, will you marry me?"); she covered her face in joy and, as he got down on his knee (nice touch), she nodded, "yes."  There were the standard "games" of Mustard, Relish and Ketchup racing on the sidelines with a victory of free cookies from Subway for everyone (31,000 plus) at the game; and another "victory" for a Dad who could blow 10 paper cups off a table, using the air from a balloon he had to keep reinflating.  For that he won the admiration of his six year-old son standing next to him who never doubted his dad "can do it" and Diamondback Bucks to apply to his next ticket.

As the sun began to go down, the stadium dome opened up and few birds, captured the night before when the dome was open, then shut, flew up into the sunset.  In front of us were a cluster of seven year old Brownies from Gilbert, Az., who devoured pizzas and ice cream folded into waffle cones.  On a sugar high, even though in the 9th inning, Dbacks were down 5-2, they were jumping up and down with their homemade posters and shouting cheers they learned from their morning softball game.  Sprinting up and down the steep stairs (we were in the "cheap" seats of Section 319), their badge-ladened vests flapping in the breeze, they couldn't stop giggling and I could easily imagine the quick sleeps they would fall into on the way back to Gilbert, after the game.

We took the light rail, Central to Roosevelt stops, and it was a mere five minutes to be back at a weekend apartment.  So, I am ready to go out to the ballgame again and be guaranteed 3-4 hours of entertainment on and off the field.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Last camping memory

From a writing prompt, I am reflecting on my last outdoor camping experience.  I think it may have been at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, many moons ago.  Our son was being homeschooled and we had taken our VW camper to New Mexico for a visit to the school that was helping me keep track of our curriculum.  I think it was in the month of May.  We set up camp around dusk and Mark had some VW repairs to attend to, so Aron and I went, hand in hand, through the forest.  We followed the path to the lodge where Mark met us with the now-running camper.  We joined others gathered on the patio to hear the Park Ranger talk about the starry sky hanging like a tapestry over the canyon.  Suddenly, a light exploded in the sky--"probably a super Nova", I recall the Ranger calming stating.  I recall feeling a surge of electricity tingle in my toes.  We rode the camper back to camp, chattering about the stars all the way back.  In the morning, a doe and her fawn were patiently waiting to greet us as we came out of the camper.

Later that day, Aron, Mark and I followed the same path to the lodge and discovered that, unknowing to us, Aron and I had been walking along a canyon precipice for much of the way.  I was shocked realize how dangerously close to the edge we had come, hand in hand, mother and son.  Quite a memory--and maybe why it was the last time I recall camping!

So, when's the last time you camped outside?