Thursday, April 1, 2010

That One Summer

Everybody has had one. And if you're fortunate, more than one.

That glorious, sun-splashed, neverending days coupled with enchanting nights three-month experience, usually in your late teens, where the girls were beautiful, the world was shimmeringly bright & the potential was limitless. You were young. You were bulletproof. Laws were just a laughable inconvenience dealt with by breaking where you saw fit & calling dad if the cops caught you.

Mine was the summer of 1978. I was 19. Gerry Rafferty's 'Baker Street' was the soundtrack of that summer, and to this day whenever I hear that saxophone break out with that 'dah-DAHDAH-dudda-dadada...' beginning, I am instantly transported back to Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, rolling through town in my lime green 1973 Plymouth Duster when I went to college in the mornings & worked at a grocery store in the evenings. And once I got off work, it was a 12-pack of beer (I had friends who were 21), pick up my girlfriend, and head to our rendezvous spot where we would organize our nightly hijinxs. Those nightly sorties may have involved the aforementioned breaking of laws, like climbing the fence at Silver Lake Country Club to take a midnight skinny dip in their swimming pool. Or the, ahem, 'borrowing' of certain signs that held some kind of goofy significance to us. Case in point - Virginia Kendall Park had a sign for one of their picnic areas that was called Cherry Knob. And for whatever reasons (actually I know the reasons, but just use your imagination), me & my cohorts thought that sign was hilarious. So we took it.

I am really hoping the Statute of Limitations has expired on this stuff...

But anyway, that summer. Time meant nothing. 11pm turned into 3am but it didn't matter. Because the other factor that fueled our forays was youthful energy. We didn't get tired! And yeah, I had a 745am English Lit class at Kent State, but so what - a 2-hour rest & I was ready for another 18-hour day (Why does it seem the opposite now...?). Besides, there was this exciting world that needed explored, defiled & conquered. Not 4 years earlier we were riding our bikes to State Road (2 miles from home) and considered that some kind of exotic excursion. But now....we had cars. And hormones. And girls. And beer. And a 91-days extended vacation to explore them all. Especially the girls :)

My son just turned 16, and I look at this boy turning into a man & think, your summer is coming, and I wish I was his age again so I could be his wingman. It's now April. And I raise a Genessee Cream Ale (if they even still make it) & an 8-track of Gerry Rafferty's City To City in hopes that the Summer of 2010 is your summer.