I remember the summer my brother Mike, and I, decided to recreate the roller skate disco craze in our very own garage! Imagine the delight of my parents as we explained our desire to scrub the garage floor clean! I recall there was very little hesitation in my Mom's validating reply...but our decision to engage in such an activity was purely motivated by our mind's eye vision of ourselves...rockin' out on roller skates...to the musical stylings of Michael Jackson (consequently the only cassette tape I ever, actually wore out by listening to it so much!) I coveted Mike's flawless skill at skating backwards and was determined that by the end of the summer I would have that skill mastered! Like Ahab, I stared down "Moby Dick" (my inability to skate backwards) and conquered my fears...I was a skating-backwards-pro by the end of the summer...thousands of skating hours later!
Or how about the summer that my siblings and I collectively decided to hold our own Olympics! No doubt it was after we all watched as Mary Lou Retton executed her perfected, and now legendary, "vault" exercise! The pride we felt in watching her perform seemed to encourage us all to reach the same level of recognition by competing with other able-bodied athletes. Able-bodied and much less skilled than the traditional athlete, we chose to compete in events like Olympic turf-dancing. Noted for it's al fresco, grass-floored venue, Olympic turf-dancing became a fast favorite UNTIL the night Lora made the infamous decision to incorporate a prop. A broomstick which she used to hold onto while she walked her legs out until her body, straight as an arrow, was almost parallel with the ground...all while keeping time to the catchy, Jackson 5 - Mick Jagger duet, "State of Shock!" The aptly named song took on new meaning when the broomstick slid out from underneath Lora while onlookers (mostly her seven siblings) gasped in shock! It was tragic for Lora to be deducted in her scores by the judges (also her seven siblings) so acutely while at the pinnacle of her Olympic success!
Last, but certainly not least, the year Ringling, Barney and Bailey took residence in our backyard! Most assuredly the year that my Mother had introduced us to the movie, "The Greatest Show on Earth!" How could you watch something like that and not walk away with the desire to "fly on the trapeze" or "walk the tight rope?" Without the proper "venue" for our circus, we became resourceful and used whatever we could find to "make due!" This was especially tricky when re-creating the tight rope walk! My brother's and I knew where some nautical rope would be available (otherwise known as my Dad's fishing gear) and we knew that it must be a quality, heavy duty rope to withstand our full weight...why we didn't consider the post strength that we were tying the rope to, is beyond me! The tree's, otherwise known as tight rope posts, were well on their way to becoming beautiful and strong! A quality that would have continued had they not have been forced almost completely horizontal by the weight of the "Terry-Tight-Ropers!" I'm pretty sure "State of Shock" would have been perfect theme music as my Dad bolted out the open screen door to find his fishing gear in use to "fell" his prized trees!
As I said before...summer shenanigans...those activities that would normally seem impossible, or just plain stupid, end up engaging "children" everywhere in hours and hours of creative fun! For those of you who are interested in skeet shooting, we recently recreated the sport by adding in the obstacle of not only hitting the clay pigeon but piercing through my Dad's down-filled sleeping bag as well! As much as I'd like to expound on that summer shenanigan, I think I'll save that story for another Nutshell!
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