Goodbye To All That

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I’ve always loved the title of Joan Didion’s essay, Goodbye to All That, which pays homage to New York, the city, her love for it, but the need to leave it behind. Her love affair with New York begins as most love affairs do—with awe and passion and all-encompassing rapture; however, the city ends up burdening and exhausting her as a writer with its frenetic pace and way of life.

It’s quite the opposite for me when considering the ideals of the summer season. Summer rolls in mid-year with its sunshine, flowers, humidity, warmth, relaxing tendencies, and languid days. And while I keep myself busy in the summer, its pace these last couple of years has been nothing short of wonderful.

And now it’s September and cooler (unusually so, especially today). Pumpkin spice coffees and sunflowers are already making appearances on Facebook and Instagram, and not to rush the season, I actually got suckered into purchasing a pair of velvet booties (velvet is a hot trend this fall/winter season).

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So now it’s time to say farewell to the summer days that offer us few cares and worries. My son’s senior year of high school begins this Wednesday, as well as my daughter’s sophomore year. It seems like just yesterday they were running through the sprinklers in their bathing suits out on the front lawn of our Ellicott City home—carefree, spirited, and wide-eyed with wonder. Now they are two teenage people with jobs, school, and extra-curricular activities. Time has marched on, as it always does, and we’ve all grown older.

But Summer, dear, sweet Summer, it’s difficult to let go of you. You cast your spell on us and allow us to be young and free-spirited for a while; you harken back to those carefree days when I watched my children play and the days seemed endless. You give us the opportunity to enjoy each other’s company without deadlines and appointments and commitments. I wish you could stay, Summer, but I understand that you cannot.

So, I’m afraid I have to say it, although it breaks my heart: Goodbye to all that.

For now.

Stephanie

20841993_10155523297888954_3655226197486168242_nStephanie Verni is Professor of Business Communication at Stevenson University and is the author of Inn Significant, Baseball Girl, and Beneath the Mimosa Tree. Along with her colleagues Leeanne Bell McManus and Chip Rouse, she is a co-author of Event Planning: Communicating Theory and Practice, published by Kendall-Hunt.

 

 

Play Spud, Catch Fireflies, Run Through the Sprinkler

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I am one of the lucky ones.

My childhood was filled with laughter and love and long days spent outside that rolled into the evening. When I think of my formative years, I picture myself playing outside on the lawn, riding bikes through the neighborhood, going to the park, splashing at the neighborhood pool, or hunting down my friends in a friendly game of flashlight tag. We were outside most of the time; I’m sure my mother loved it that way. Besides, why be cooped up all day inside when the glorious sunshine beckoned us to come outside…and…well, play.

Two days ago on one of my long walks in my current neighborhood, I came upon a group of kids. They were playing SPUD. I said to one of them, “SPUD was my favorite game as a kid.” He responded, “It’s the best.”

He’s right. It’s a great game for all to play. It doesn’t take a lot of talent, and it’s just fun to see what happens after you throw that ball up in the air and call someone’s name. It’s good old-fashioned fun. No electronics are needed. Just a ball and some friends. And voila! You’ve got a game.

We happened to love that game and played it on the hill in our backyard in Bowie. Our family had a pretty grand hill—super for sledding in the winter, that was for sure. But in the summer, we made use of it in other ways. SPUD was a street favorite. There was also Hide and Seek using our yard, our neighbor’s yard, and our other neighbor’s yard across the street.  Flashlight tag worked the same way. We played Graveyard and What Time Is It, Mr. Fox and Red Light, Green Light.

On super hot days, if we weren’t at the pool, we’d get in our bathing suits and run through the sprinkler. We’d get squirt guns and play a game of squirt gun tag.

When dusk arrived, we got our Mason jars, kiddie nets or our hands, and hunted for fireflies. We’d catch them and watch them light up while we ate ice cream on the patio. Then, we’d let them free.

As the crisp spring air and sunshine warms up Maryland, I hope I see more kids outside playing SPUD, eating ice cream, catching fireflies, and running through the sprinkler.

Just like the days of old.

imageStephanie Verni is Professor of Business Communication at Stevenson University and is the author of Inn Significant, Baseball Girl, and Beneath the Mimosa Tree. Along with her colleagues Leeanne Bell McManus and Chip Rouse, she is a co-author of Event Planning: Communicating Theory and Practice, published by Kendall-Hunt.