Sunday, July 20, 2008

The last innocent summer

So how pathetic is this?

I'm curled up in my recliner, wearing PJs at noon, watching "Dark Shadows" and eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I'm feeling better, but still not great, and so here I sit, watching this nonsense ("You can't kill me. I'm already dead!"), eating a kid's meal. After awhile, I'll turn the clan from Collinsport off and watch Justin Verlander and the Tigers stare down the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards.

Funny, but this is close to how I spent an entire summer, 15 years ago. Well, minus the migraines.

No, I didn't get headaches back then. Didn't really have a care in the world. That summer, the last innocent summer you might say, I slept late, read books, immersed myself in Dan Curtis's crazy dream each weekday morning at 11, and watched baseball in the balmy evenings.

Looking back, I guess it was a lonely summer, but it didn't feel that way then. I didn't have a point of reference to know any different.

I call it the last innocent summer, because soon after that I met this dark-haired girl, fell in love, and, well, life never has been quite the same.

But that summer, I cared about Fred McGriff coming over to Atlanta from Toronto. I lived and died with the Braves then, TBS, 7:35 p.m. Eastern, Skip and Pete, Don and Joe. Terry Pendleton at third. Dave Justice (damn him for taking Dale Murphy's place) in right, Marquis Grissom, Jeff Blauser, the Lemmer, Tom Glavine on the mound.

And, "Dark Shadows," my goodness. I knew more about Barnabas Collins than I did about the neighbors across the street. It's silly to think about now, the devotion that only a child can give to a TV show. Every now and then I'd get bored and watch a John Wayne western. "El Dorado," for about the 100th time. In the afternoons, I'd sit in the sun, and read books. I've forgotten what -- I'd graduated from the Hardy Boys by then -- but the titles are lost to time.

But the summer ended, as they always must. Then my dad sold his house, and I didn't get the Sci-Fi Channel and "Dark Shadows" anymore. I kept the Braves, but that fall I met that little dark-haired girl with the perfect teeth, and my priorities changed, probably for the worst.

Now I'm 15 years older, but still watching baseball, immersed again in "Dark Shadows" (thank you, Netflix), am madly in love with several dark-haired girls.

What is it they say about the more things change...?

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