Stangl

If you believe the weather forecast, it looks like we will be in for another scorcher this weekend. Temperatures are slated to climb into the mid to upper 90s, with high humidity.

When I was in high school, one year we put on a production of “Damn Yankees” as the fall musical. I recall the main character, Joe Boyd, who lives in Hannibal, Missouri, going on about how boring (and hot) his hometown is in the summer. He talks about people waiting on their porches for Canada to kick open the back door and let some of the cool, dry air come their way.

I recall many summers as a child waiting for that fictional “door” to open just a crack to give us some relief from the heat and humidity. It didn’t happen too often, but we learned that a box fan used in an open window properly (blow out during the day, in at night) could do wonders.

Summertime was the time to spend all sorts of time with neighborhood friends. You have to remember that this was before cable TV (heck before widespread color TV), cell phones, personal computers and home video games (unless you were a millionaire).

We would get on some tangent, whether it was playing the card game Spades or swimming and diving in the municipal pool, and literally run it into the ground. There was one summer when we played pickup games of baseball on what seemed to be nearly a daily basis. There was another summer when grape flavored Tang came out. We drank so many pitchers full of the drink that we later learned that food coloring has a way of passing through the body relatively unscathed.

Sometimes, we developed rather grandiose ideas, like building a raft out of empty oil drums to float down the small creek that ran through my hometown. This particular plan grew in scale until we realized that we would need to weld the raft together and carry the several hundred pound craft a half mile to a creek that was so shallow you could walk across it without getting your knees wet.

Needless to say, this particular plan did not come to pass.

I recall spending the night with a friend during the summer. We snuck out of the house at 2 a.m. to see what was going on in town. Having never been out and about at that hour of the morning, we were unsure of what we might see. That was the allure of the adventure. Would we see a murder? Car accident? Drunks?

We went downtown and saw absolutely nothing but a deserted downtown.

No crime, no drunks, nothing but the closed stores and no cars. After making a second round of the four block downtown (just to be sure) we bought a can of pop and returned home.

That was our big adventure on a warm summer evening.

Childhood, like summertime, passes far too quickly. I’m sure you all have memories or stories like these. It’s often fun to share these with your children, for no other reason than to let them know that you too, once were a kid.

Enjoy the hot weather, but take it easy on that grape Tang. Sure, it tastes good now, but trust me, you won’t like it later.

As always, I welcome your comments. You can reach me by email at tstangl@theameryfreepress.com, telephone 715-268-8101 or write me at P.O. Box 424, Amery, WI, 54001.

Thanks for reading I’ll keep in touch. Feel free to do the same.