Friday, August 31, 2012

The simplest summer fun

The timeless truth of summer vacation is that sometimes the simplest parts are the best.
Yesterday, the kids and I spent the afternoon playing games in our driveway. First we played Frisbee; then badminton; then ladder ball; and we put all the games away only because it got to be 4:30 and I still needed to go grocery shopping.

It was a fairly notable contrast to other events this summer, days we’ve traveled farther, taken part in somewhat more exotic endeavors, and certainly spent a lot more money. And yet it was just as much fun.
For the most part, this summer has kept us relatively close to home, but we’ve still fit in a decent amount of variety in our activities. We’ve gone miniature golfing. We’ve taken several beach trips. We’ve put in lots of boating hours. We’ve swum in a local pond and in the backyard pools of various friends and relatives. There were birthday parties and graduation parties. We took a canal tour in Lowell. We took part in an all-you-can-eat ice cream tasting in Maine, and watched fireworks over the harbor on the Fourth of July. We attended a few minor league baseball games. We spent a day at the Museum of Science in Boston. We visited art exhibits in Lincoln, Concord and Lexington. And we spent a week exploring Disney World, with its myriad wonders and peculiarities, from Cinderella impersonators to roller coaster rides.
And all of it was a lot of fun. But so was yesterday. We were busy with various things indoors all morning; after lunch I told the kids it was imperative that we find some kind of outdoor activity that we all wanted to do. I suggested swimming at the nearby pond where we have a summer membership, or walking through the woods to the ice cream stand.
They preferred Frisbee. And badminton. And ladder ball. In the driveway.
So that was how we spent the afternoon. Not exotic fun, and not a lot of cultural immersion or exploration of nature involved. Just traditional backyard games, on one of the last days before summer vacation ends and school begins.
Yesterday afternoon probably won’t make it into any “What I did over my summer vacation” essays, other than this one. It was trivial. It was mundane.
But sometimes those are exactly the characteristics of summer fun. Yesterday, anyway. I’ll remember the afternoon of games in the yard, even if the kids might not. But my guess is that they’ll remember it too. Maybe not to brag to their friends about. But maybe when they’re my age and looking for something fun to do with their own children, they’ll remember Frisbee. And badminton. And ladder ball. And simple ways to have fun on an August afternoon.

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