Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Lesson 65: Songs of Summer All Summer Long

I'm a girl who enjoys the change of seasons, and in each one, certain songs fit the mood.  There are songs that remind you of cold November Rain, like the Guns N' Roses song, or Chris Tomlin's Awakening makes one think of spring.  I've been trying to teach Natalie, my iPod obsessed autistic daughter, that Jingle Bells is not a good song to play right now.  She's not listening.  Songs have a way of conjuring up memories for all of us, and the one posted today reminds me of summer along the banks of Lake Erie--my stomping grounds.  The version is live, and not nearly as good as Kid Rock's recorded version, but the video has a few suggestive scenes.  My ten year old reads my blog, so we'll sacrifice tunage a bit in exchange for a few more moments of innocence. 

Kid Rock is an interesting dude.  I was surprised to find that he is only about six weeks older than me.  I would have pegged him mid forties for sure.  The rocker lifestyle has taken a little toll on his skin if you ask me.  I like Kid Rock for several reasons, one being that he performs under a stage name.  I looked up his real name and it is Robert James Richie.  He just doesn't strike me as a Bob, so good move, Kid.  I also like him because he grew up along the Great Lakes--although his lake is Lake Michigan.  He lived outside of Detroit, a blue collar town which has had its fair share of struggles in today's economy.  In the song he sings of catching walleye off the dock in Lake Michigan.  The song is reminiscing about the summer of 1989, a year when his "thoughts were short and his hair was long"----just like me!  1989 was my high school graduation year and my thoughts were very short--like "when is the next graduation party?' kind of short.  And boy was my unruly hair long (and big).  Thank God for the development of the hair straightener or Eloise would be the brunt of everyone's jokes for sure.

But the best thing about Kid Rock is not his tunes---it's his loyalty.  He loves Detroit and has made his permanent home there, despite his rocker fame.  As he became more famous he began to hobnob with some of the Hollywood types and met Pamela Anderson.  They married and quickly divorced 5 months later.  No it wasn't because he got a glimpse of her without her make up on (ladies, I heard she's just as scary looking as we all are upon dawn's first light).  It was because Mr. Rock wouldn't leave Detroit, his hometown.  Pamela loved him and followed him there, but I am sure she looked like a fish out of water---a Pacific swordfish amongst the schools of walleye.  LA was not for Kid and DE-troit was too working class for her liking---so they split.  She left him to go back to the close proximity of her plastic surgeons out in LA.  They just didn't to have any good ones out there in Detroit. 

"Catchin' walleye off the docks, watchin' the waves roll off the rocks...." reminds me of a great fish tale from last weekend.  My nephew Jack is an avid fisherman and has his pole in his hand during any free time that he has in the summer.  He has a few poles, but his favorite as of late is a combo given to him by both his grandpas---the pole belonged to one of them and the reel to the other.  Jack was fishing off of the Marina wall--a dock of sorts-- and had his pole propped up like any good fisherman.  He released his grasp "for just one second" to scratch his leg and Mr. Fishy decided to take his bait....and his pole along with him.  He lost Mr. Fishy and his favorite pole in one second.  Far be it for a boy going into 7th grade in the fall to cry, but according to his dad, he was beside himself with upset.  In keeping with family tradition, Jack was told to "suck it up" and move on.  He could use another pole for the afternoon.  Lesson learned.  Father and son were having no luck in that spot, so they moved down the wall some hoping to find that elusive school of perch.  Over an hour later Jack hooked the biggest catch of his life--he snagged his old pole!  It was back in his arms once again.

The rest of the snapshots posted above are from some things we do All Summer Long.  You will see sunscreen and sky rides; watermelon and water slides.  We made our annual trek to Waldameer on Tuesday and some of the photos are from there.  My readers are always complaining that I never post pictures of myself on the blog, so I heeded your request.  That is me on the flying swings.  Can you tell which one I am?

We were measurably proud because Sam made it a whole 75 minutes in the Water Park before he got kicked out.  Apparently there is a rule about standing up on the slides.  Sam is long and talk but short on listening, and refused to heed the lifeguard's polite, but stern warnings.  After she threw a thumb over her shoulder and said, "You are outta here!" Sam protested by splashing water on her.  Pray for me.  I have my work cut out for me.

Luckily though, I didn't have to witness that one.  We flipped a coin, my hubby and I.  Someone had to stay in the kiddie pool area and man Sam, and the other had to go on the water slides with my girls and their two cousins.  If you know Eloise well, I opt for a national park over an amusement park any day.  I prefer ponds to pools and would gladly swim with the fish rather than in chlorine. Just thinking about sitting in a public tub of hot water surrounded by strangers who should not be baring flesh gives me the willies.  A rash appears at the mere thought of all that dead skin, human hair, and bodily fluid that the pool filter picks up.  I'll swim with the fish poop any day.  Sam or snot?---there was truly no winner.  My hubby has a bit of an unpredictable ticker and I wasn't up for an ambulance call with 5 kids in tow, so I got the water slide duties, although I think Sam makes his heart race just the same.

Upon our meeting at the picnic pavilion to regroup for lunch before the amusement park portion of the day, I yapped at my husband for not watching Sam closer as I caught wind of the banishment.  But I admit, I had a couple of slip ups, too.  At the top of the water slides--the kind that you go down with just your body--you have two choices--to the left is the slower one, and to the right is the one labelled "Free fall" with the warning for the pregnant women, the elderly, those with bad tickers, and the plain old out of shape.  I bravely chose the lesser evil and went down first so I could wait at the bottom so that Natalie didn't wander off and get lost.  I kept watching for her to pop out the tube behind me when suddenly she came out of the tube on the right.  She had mistakenly gone on the "free fall."  Natalie is the opposite from Sam--she's short on words so I wasn't quite sure what she made of all that.  I said, "Natalie, are you okay?"  She slapped my arm, then said, "slides good mom."  I take that as a mild reprimand and "its all good." 

My in laws are regular blog readers so I know you will appreciate this one.  You have never experienced life until you have gone down a water slide on an inner tube, riding double with Kayla on the back.  My ear is still ringing from the repeated screaming of, "Oh MY GOD WE'RE GONNA DIE!"   Let me tell ya',  two adult sized women pick up a high rate of speed while going down that sucker.  We hit the water pool at the finish like the tidal wave hit Japan this spring.  The tube was perpendicular for a second and I saw my life flash before my eyes before I was pushed to the bottom of the pool.  Luckily Eloise has quick wits about her and I was able to think through the moment when Kayla's size 9 1/2 was pressing my face to the cement surface of the pool bottom.  I taught buoyancy to my students this spring and knew eventually I'd float to the surface for Baywatch Babe to save me.  I was a bit stunned as I surfaced, so naturally I thought that the lifeguard was Pamela Anderson for a moment.  I almost told her she blew it with Kid Rock and that blue collar towns were way better overrated LA.

Hope you Slovenians make a trip to Erie, PA this summer.  The food and lodging are short on the dollar and the fun to be had is way long.  Just ask one of the lifeguards about Eloise and they'll know where to find me.  They have my son's face posted in the employee locker room with a big red circle with a diagonal line running through it.  He's a wanted man.

Happy summer,

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