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Converted from paper version of the Broad Ripple Gazette (v07n14)
Right in my Own Backyard - In the Good Ol' Summertime - by Brandt Carter
posted: Jul. 09, 2010

Right in my Own Backyard header

In the Good Ol' Summertime

I woke up this summer morning to the drizzle of fine rain drops - just enough to make me want to stay indoors. The sweet reverie brought back thoughts of childhood summer days when the season seemed to go on forever.
We loved the hot, sunny days when Mom would say, "Go outside and play." That was a command! She needed us to get out from under foot so she could tend to daily chores. There was no staying glued to a 42-inch TV or playing computer games. They were nonexistent. So out we would go, only touching base for a quick grilled cheese or peanut butter sandwich at lunch. Even a bit older, we would take an hour rest after lunch to read our library reading club book or nap, avoiding the high noon sun. Then it was time for afternoon play. Back out into the neighborhood we went, admonished as we ducked out the door, "Don't be late for dinner."
We lived in a neighborhood with lots of kids. We ran through alleys and yards playing games that today's kids may not know - games like dodge ball, kick-the-can, hide-and-seek, hop scotch, jacks, jump rope, red light-green light, and various forms of baseball. I can still hear the shouts of "ollie ollie oxen, all in free!" and "Tag, you're IT!" When summer became monotonous, we'd turn our attention to throwing old bedspreads over the clothes line and staking the edges into the ground to build a tent. We'd furnish these little makeshift shelters with orange crates and the like - clubhouse sorts of places to play cards, board games, or beat a retreat from the neighborhood clan.
Some days we went to Riviera to take swim lessons and enjoy a day at the pool. If we had money enough for a frozen Milky Way, life was just plain good. Evenings found us playing the most intense games of hide-and-seek or catching fireflies. We would play until dark, finally having to heed the call, "It's time to come home for bed."
The cool, rainy days stick in my memory. Everyone in our pack played cards. I was a card shark by the age of nine. Sure we played Clue, Sorry, Monopoly, Checkers, and Parcheesi, but the best was Canasta, Spit or Solitaire - especially when played on the porch as rain fell all around us. We'd often wrap up in a blanket and indulge in milk and saltine crackers to while away the hours. There was something so cozy about those times.
Games in which we interacted with each other were our entertainment. Our play was inventive and mostly consisted of whatever we could imagine. You might call it just plain "low-tech." Our neighborhood was anything but quiet. Anyone who wanted to play had simply to listen for sounds to point the way to fun. Play, play, play - that was our job for the summer.


Brandt Carter, artist, herbalist, and naturalist, owns Backyard Birds at 2374 E. 54th Street. Visit her web site www.feedbackyardbirds.com. Email your bird questions to Brandt@BroadRippleGazette.com




brandt@broadripplegazette.com
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