Saturday, July 30, 2016

Celebrate Old-Time Summer Fun

Remember when summer months were filled with concerts, picnics, and lazy days? Time was spent outside enjoying life's moments. Growing up, I remember one event, the Fireman Field Days, that was the highlight of the summer in my neighborhood. Parents who belonged to the volunteer fire department prepared for the event months in advance. Anticipation came in bundles as the event neared. Children watched adults erect tents and prepare food. Everyone always expected good weather. As the years moved on so did the fashion of the times and the way that we as children participated. Older children were allowed to help prepare for the annual event.

During the hot, summer nights when the field days were held, children lined up in the streets waiting to feel the spritz of the fire hoses as water poured out during the competition. The food tents were crowded, especially the salt potato booth. Gobs of butter were placed all over the delicious small red potatoes that were created in honor of Syracuse's early salt mines. Cotton candy in a bubblegum pink color was piled high in paper cones and often spotted on the ferris wheel ride. Everyone played penny toss and other games as we moved from tent to tent. Shrieks and laughter were heard, evidence that everyone was relaxing and enjoying the nighttime event. Each night when we walked the few blocks home, conversation would center on coming back for one more night of fun. 

Photo from Hannibal, NY Fireman Field Days
When the field days were over, summer returned to a routine: playing in each other's yards, waiting to whiff the delicious smells of the next pies my friend's mom would bake, reading in the sun, and listening to the transistor radio. In contrast to growing up in Central New York, today's children on Long Island are often seen playing with their electronics, discussing video games, and going to beaches. The ever-popular tan is still being sported by many children. 

Today, I try to savor my summer days but I need to be intentional about them. Household tasks always seem to take away from leisure time, if I allow them to do so. On Wednesday night, my friends and I decided to attend the Picnic Pops at Old Westbury Gardens. This time there was a clear weather report and I did not have to worry about being caught in summer rains like the last time (you can read about that here). The weather was warm, the music soothing, and the picnic food delicious but it was the walk in the gardens that brought me to a place of peace. As I walked with my friend she recounted stories about Old Westbury Gardens the way it was at the turn of the 20th Century and thirty years ago when she came to Long Island. The grandeur of the land was evident on this night. I snapped some photos and found a couple that I decided to digitalize with the Mobile Monet to give them an impressionist-look. I think they capture the majesty of the gardens that last still today. 

It is time to Celebrate This Week with Ruth Ayres. I look forward to hearing the positives of my colleagues' week. 

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