I loved summer nights. There are few things better than sitting in a rocking chair on the front porch with an iced cold beer worthy enough to have a lime wedge. Heat lightning silhouetting wispy clouds and everyone counts until they hear the faint rumble of thunder. Throw in a gently breeze, one that cools and keeps the bugs away, and what you have is pretty much blissful relaxation. I remember these nights well. Nights when the kids would chase fireflies (or lightning bugs… depending on where you live) during that brief period after twilight.
If nothing else, I must be in quite a routine with the dogs. For whatever reason, I haven’t taken them out during the time when the fireflies put on their display during this time of the year. I never really thought about it until yesterday evening. That is, until Tucker was almost pleading with me to take him out. I grumbled (as I always do) and took him out (as I always do).
I walked the dogs outside and an overwhelming yearning came on me — like an cartoon anvil to the head — as I saw these bugs lighting-up on the edge of a stand of trees in our backyard. It was a beautiful thing. The bugs, that is… not the anvil to the head.
I swear, I could practically see my kids, at the wonderful age of 8 or 9, chasing these flying insects down. Each barefoot and wearing the dirt of the day. Dirt so thick that when they took their socks off it could easily be mistaken for a tan line. Sweaty evidence of a fun day. I had an overwhelming urge to kick off my shoes and see if I still had the ole’ knack for catching them. The dogs in tow saved me from certain humiliation or injury.
Yes, the kids would laugh and run toward each flicker, magically suspended for a brief second. Grasping at the air. Then straining to see them in the grayness of night after they went dim. Every time they successfully nabbed a firefly they would bring it back to show me — “Daddy, look! Daddy, look!” — like it was nothing I had ever seen before. I always pretended I hadn’t, and marveled at both the beauty of the insect and my kid’s ability to catch it.
They would then put it in a pickle jar, padded with grass and air holes in the lid. Without fail, they would ask to keep them as a pet. No, Sue would say. She would go into her standard spiel about freedom and respect of nature. The kids bored quickly with their protests of how they would take care of them (this might be a good time to bring up the hermit crabs). Then, if not as pets, how about overnight, they would ask? Sue never allowed it, making them release them before we went in.
Simple times in our lives. I really do miss these… and beer.
I’ve been meaning to tell you that I loved this blog posting. it is beautifully written.
Love & prayers,
Sweet memories…so eloquently stated. It seems you really did remember to live each day to the fullest…and you still do manage to do that within the confines of the restrictions placed on you now. You are a wonderful father and Sue is a beautiful mother….it is awe inspiring as we see how well you two balance it all…tending to every one of Ryan’s needs, celebrating each little bit of progress he makes, all while appreciating all of what continues in Kari’s life. You are very genuine people and outstanding parents. We love you and continue to pray for Ryan every single day. Love, Peggie
Thanks for bringing us all in to perspective. As an older mother of younger children, I have to remember so many times to not be so serious with them. They love to laugh at me when I too chase after the lightning bugs. They just think it’s silly for a mom to chase after anything. No matter what happens in our lives, we always think it was simpler 2 years ago, 5 years ago, 20 years ago. Life and technology just keeps moving along.
As far as the beer, let me know when you’re ready for a 6-pack. I’ll be glad to bring it over to you (with limes). If you have the time, I’ll even share one with on the front porch.
Hugs to Ryan & I hope you have a good Sunday. SHSP, NGA!
The Colangelis says
You bring back similar memories from the time our kids were growing up too. Enjoyed reading it. Hope you take time for both yourself and the dogs to enjoy some outside air during the evenings. Wishing Ryan a good day today.
Your post today is a good reminder to us parents with young children to slow down and enjoy every minute with them…you are an amazing father!!!
Such beautiful, bittersweet memories… I hope that someday soon they will bring you only joy as Ryan is able to experience these simple pleasures for himself again, with you and Sue, Kari and the dogs by his side of course. Much love to your family today and always.
Gail Doyle says
Ken ,Such wonderful simple memories of a peaceful time …and I pray there will be more good ones to come when Ryan is healed Still here NGA Love Gail
Jo Hobbs says
Beautiful, Ken–you taught your children well with good parenting (please see my status on FB early this morning). This is a day for memories of days-gone-by for us. Your children will always remember these days, too. Here’s to the days of good memories gone by. Now it’s time to make good new memories to treasure. Love to all.