June 27, 2007

Yesterday started summer officially.  It was hot and filled with thunder storms as the spring air fought with the summer air. 

When summer would come when I was younger I remember hopping on my bike and riding down to the junior college softball fields with my baseball bat, glove, and ball.  Pretty soon more guys would materialize around the field.  We would pick sides and play baseball all day.  No fences and cardboard for bases.  Kids would ebb and flow in and out of the game, depending on swimming lessons or dental appointments or babysitting for siblings, and the score would mount all day.  Once we kept score for the whole week.  Hundreds of runs scored.  If a full complement of players was not available, we would declare a field dead and you had to learn to hit to other fields.  That's when I learned to switch hit.  Shirts would be lost as the morning's coolness lost out to the heat of the sun.  Sliding left all of us dirty from head to toe.  My allergies acted up with such abuse, but it just became part of the dusty, dirty mess smeared across my face and chest.

When it got too hot we would ride down to the creek and swim in a swimming hole.  It was a tidal creek coming off the San Francisco Bay, so it went up and down with the tide.  But at one curve it was deeper no matter the tide level.  We shared it with big carp, some of them four feet long and slow.  They didn't seem to mind.  The mud was deep and filled with old green and yellow bottles, sometimes whole and sometimes broken, along with other refuse from passersby.

Of course, when I got home from the big games, my mom was appalled at how filthy I was and would require an immediate clean up.  Nothing too permanent, since after dinner we were going to play kickball with the neighborhood kids and maybe climb the fig tree down the street to spy on the snooty neighbors around the corner.  My mom said it really wasn't worth cleaning up since I evidently believed in minimal water and maximum rubbing on the towel, leaving a really dirty towel behind.

We would stay out until the bats started getting closer and closer, chasing after insects we couldn't see.  We were sure they were after us because they were crazed with rabies.  My dad's tennis racket took care of some of them. And as I would fall asleep my last thought was always about baseball tomorrow.

Welcome, summer!