Simple joys are usually the best ones, and summer tends to be full of them.
This week I experienced a handful.
1) Last Saturday was a beastly hot day. Remember? 90 degrees and humidity so thick it would have been possible to mistake sleepy Bedford with the swamps of southeastern Georgia. Even so, in the mid-afternoon hours there was sufficient breeze and cloudiness to permit some outdoor time with the kids. So we grabbed two scooters, some tennis balls, and a tennis racket and headed across the street to a vacant parking lot to hang out and do some low-key outdoor stuff. Not a soul was out walking or biking, and even fewer cars were driving. It was surreal. Silent. But totally lovely.
2) The following day we headed up to Manchester to see the New Hampshire Fisher Cats take on the Akron Aeros in an Eastern League doubleheader. As we walked in, my nine-year old got a foul ball, the equivalent of hitting the $200+ million Powerball jackpot for a fourth grader. As if that wasn’t enough, we headed down to the bullpen between games of the doubleheader and got three(!) baseballs from the pitching coach after the warm-up. Three kids, two games, four baseballs.
3) Tuesday night nothing was going on. Dinner was eaten, the kids were in bed, and my very pregnant wife was going to bed early. In lieu of hanging out alone and watching the Olympics, I went over to a friend’s house and spent a few hours enjoying summery brews and watching Aly Raisman bring home two medals. Awesome.
4) Wednesday presented a rare opportunity- summer afternoon baseball at Fenway. With the resale market about as lukewarm as the real estate market in 2009, I got my hands on three dirt-cheap tickets and took my two sons to the game. Gloves in hand, we parked at Longwood and ended up sitting two rows up from the field by the fourth inning. As if that wasn’t magical enough for the boys, my 1st grader was handed a foul ball by an usher, and my oldest got one from the ballboy that was fouled off by Adrian Gonzalez in the 9th inning. Sure, the Red Sox lost (ma nishtana), but it really didn’t matter. Afternoon baseball, two more foul balls, and a perfect excuse to leave work a little early… what’s better than that?
5) Thursday I spent the day visiting Camp Ramah in Palmer. To say that Ramah was my life when I was growing up would be an understatement. It was more than that. For fourteen summers, it was the entire universe. Going back for the first time since 2006 was… interesting. Melancholy, even. New buildings, strange faces, happy kids I didn’t know. It was both wonderful and tragic to walk around for about an hour, seeing the old and the new, wandering out into the woods and finding my name on older buildings, marveling at how the place had changed and that I had absolutely nothing to do with it. The eighty miles I drove each way was basically a time machine. Coming home was wonderful, I went running with my kids and was happy, but I’m still a little weirded out by it.
It was a good week. A great week, perhaps. And the simple joys of summer are about to be augmented by a big and complicated one as we prepare to welcome another baby into the family in a week or two.
Hopefully she’ll like baseball, scooters, tennis balls, and watching the Olympics as much as the rest of us.
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