Lately I've been incredibly nostalgic when I take my evening walks or run outside through the streets and sidewalks of Lincoln. Summer nights can put a smile on my face no matter what kind of day I've had. I don't even mind the humidity as long as it's warm at night. Two weeks ago I was in California and I hated that the evenings were chilly. I never thought I'd prefer Illinois over California, but I definitely enjoy our summer nights a little more.
I love summertime in general, but the evenings make me happiest and most nostalgic. While I was running the other night, I was disappointed in how many empty front porches there were. Living in an apartment, I miss having a front porch or a back patio or a yard to sit on. I can't comprehend why so many people buy furniture for their porches or patios and never actually use it. This is my plea: if you have furniture outside, please use it. Or I will come sit on your porch for you...
While I was walking, my mind kept running through all the things I miss about being a kid on a summer night. I ran past a baseball field and suddenly missed the sounds of the ballparks in Streator on a summer night. From our house you could hear the fans at Southside (where the boys baseball fields were) and at Bodznick Field (where the girls played softball). You could see the lights in the distance and hear dozens of parents yelling for their kids. I miss walking down there to watch friends or boys I had a crush on play. I miss going to Owens' field or Kimes School to watch my dad play in the city or church softball league. One of his favorite things to do was play and coach softball, and I loved going to games. If nothing else, it was always good for a Sno-Cone, a Jolly Rancher stick (particularly Peach or Fire flavored...), some Laffy Taffy w/ sugar crystals on it, or some Fun Dip.
I miss playing outside with the neighbor kids as long as we possibly could until our moms would call us in for dinnertime. We'd rush back out after dinner and play long and hard. On a few occasions, we'd set up our tent outside (which was the furthest it ever went camping) and sleep in the backyard hoping the earwigs (the bugs w/ pinchers on the front) wouldn't actually crawl in our ears.
I miss running around and catching lightning bugs in glass jars and trying to keep them alive. In my more aggressive times, I miss smashing them on the sidewalk just to see the yellow glow for a few lingering seconds. I even miss searching for nightcrawlers in the ground after a good summer rain so we'd have worms for the next fishing day at Lazy Acres or Sandy Ford.
I miss lighting sparklers on the 4th of July and running around writing my name in the air with the little fire-y stick. I miss watching the fireworks in the back of my dad's truck sitting on a cooler or laying on a blanket. I miss bonfires with our old neighbors when mom and dad would let me stay out with all of the cool adults.
I miss all these things about being a kid, but I'm glad to have such great memories. I keep telling myself that now is the time to start making more. Instead of just reminiscing, I want to keep creating them.