I went to take out the garbage and realized it was a nice summer night. Summer nights in Indiana are nice. For about 2 minutes, before the mosquitoes set in and you want to get back into the air conditioned indoors because the temperature seems to level out at Pretty Uncomfortably Warm. Those few moments, when it’s nice and comfortable, the sky acting like a blanket – it reminds me of when I was a kid, specifically two things: night games and sleeping out.
Probably a lot of people had this in their neighborhood. Usually for kids starting about age 10 or 11, at about dusk, after dinner, rounding up a bunch of other kids in the neighborhood to go play. It would start with kick the can or freeze tag, or POMP!, which I’ve never found anywhere else. POMP! is pretty straightforward – think of red-rover with only one person in the middle of a lawn. Everyone else is on one side. The person in the middle yells “POMP!” – everyone tries to run to the other side. The person in the middle TACKLES whoever he or she (usually he) can. Not touches, or even ‘two-belows’ (touches with two hands below the waist, I don’t know if that’s legal any more). Tackles, takes down. This made a lot of sense at the time. Whoever he tackles is in the middle with him – and they both yell “POMP!” and people try to run from the side they’re on to the new side. After POMP! it would head into Kick the Can, which everyone knows, and Follow the Judge to Court, which after a quick search reveals may have been a very Utah (and possibly Provo) thing. I’d love to be wrong. Follow the Judge to Court was a favorite for some reason – basically it’s hide and go seek but when you’re caught you follow the Judge to catch others, and try to take off while they aren’t looking. It goes on forever.
Usually with my younger sister and very good buddy back then. Not in a tent, just out on the lawn. Nights got cold quickly in Utah, being a desert – about 20-25 degree drop – so you usually needed that sleeping bag when 1 am approached. One night I woke up to some sniffling in my ear – a neighbor dog had gotten out and was waking us up. We shooed it away and it came back another time or two. After a refused to do anything, my sister got up and chased it away with a metal rake. I thought she was going to kill it. It got the message and didn’t come back the rest of the night. Other times I slept over at a buddy’s house and we usually didn’t last the night outside, we’d end up on the floor in the living room because it was too cold.
I’ve thrown in some songs below (for however long GrooveShark and those songs within it last) that act as a revisionist version of youthful summers back in Utahr. The first song by Owl City obviously wasn’t out then – but to me it’s like an aural manifestation of the summer feeling. If it’s not already, it’s a Disney emotio-exploitation device just waiting to happen. Just try to get it out of your head. Sensitive ears can skip the last two – the ‘Mode song (just think about the lyrics for TWO SECONDS) and the Beastie Boys (uh, it’s the Beastie Boys. That’s why we love ’em.). See, I warned you, wasn’t that nice?