Spring is here!
When I was a kid growing up in St. Louis, spring was a magical time. You could feel the change of weather in the air, and it seemed like anything was possible. I can still remember the excitement during recess at school. All of the games took on a new level of intensity.
One time I got up the nerve to pass a note to a girl that I liked. It said,” I like you, do you like me? Check one, yes or no.” I didn’t get the dirty look that I expected; instead, she shyly looked at me and then wrote, “maybe.” I walked Karen home after school, with my friends following behind us singing, “Jimmy and Karen, sitting in a tree K-I-S-S-I-N-G.” You remember that song, right? I chased them away so when we got to her house, we were alone. I kissed her on the cheek and then ran home, sure that I was going to get in big trouble. Nothing ever happened; I don’t think she ever told anyone about it, I know that I didn’t. I wonder if she remembers it as clearly as I do.
Spring meant Easter, a very important holiday to many people, but for me it just meant fun. All the kids would get dressed up in their best clothes to go to Sunday school. Afterwards we would head to our Aunt’s house for an Easter egg hunt and a huge dinner. The adults were all in good spirits so there was a lot of joking and laughing.
When spring came, it was time to start thinking about summer vacation and all the exciting things we were going to do when school was out. We would have nothing to do but play, without a care in the world. Of course, a week or two of that bored us to death and we would start driving Mom crazy, so she would yell, “you kids go outside and play!” We would eventually find something to do, like getting all of the kids in the neighborhood to play hide-and-seek,” and having the whole block to hide on. We would play until the street lights came on, or someone would yell, “Ollie Ollie oxen free.”
Now spring means something different to me. I start thinking about gardening and what I will plant this year. As usual, I’ll have a lot of tomatoes and onions. We had good luck with kale last year and spinach is always great to have. I’ll probably plant some potatoes and green peppers. It just isn’t summer without being able to stand in the garden after work, pick some fresh vegetables, and eat them in the hot summer sun.
I start thinking about hunting for morels, and wonder what kind of season it will be. Will we be eating mushrooms every night for a week or two, or will we only find a few, maybe none at all? That’s what makes it so exciting, not knowing what’s going to happen.
I think one of the things that can get lost as we grow older is the anticipation of things to come. One way to stay young is to find things that excite you. Do you remember how long it took for summer vacation to arrive, and how excited you were just thinking about it? What are the things that excite you? What memories of spring do you have? I look forward to hearing from you.