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Hartselle Enquirer

Summers have changed

By Staff
Leada Gore, Editor
We were walking through our neighborhood the other day when we saw a small girl wearing a pink floral bathing suit. She was in the front yard, jumping through the surging water sprinkler in the front yard.
It wasn't one of those fancy water toys kids have now. It was the plain old sprinkler and she was having such a good time I was tempted to join her.
"I used to do that when I was little," I told Greg. "That's when you knew it was summer."
Only Christmas tops summer on the seasonal list when you're a child. Not only are you out of school but it stays daylight longer. There was always something to do and your days were occasionally topped off by a visit from the Ice Cream Man, whose clanging bell brought joy to the heart of every child in our neighborhood.
In my old neighborhood, summer meant more time to ride bikes, build forts and swing on your swingset.
When I was growing up, our backyard wasn't full of riding toys or pools. We had a swingset and a big expanse of yard. It was all we needed. We spent our days playing with our friends and running in and out of each other's houses. You returned to your house only for supper (or just ate at your friend's house, since one more kid didn't make that much of a difference) or when it got dark.
I don't think kids get to do this much any more. The world isn't such a safe place and children today seem to be accustomed to being entertained. Today's backyard forts are pre-made and look like something from the "Better Homes and Garden." Ours were made out of old pieces of wood discarded by nearby homebuilders.
There was a small bush covered with red berries near our fort. To be initiated into the club, you had to eat one of the berries. It turns out they were unripened blackberries, but we didn't know that at the time. We thought we were doing something dangerous and only the brave would be admitted to our fort and our club. Now, all you have to do is go to a home improvement store and purchase a fort. No dangerous berry eating required.
And the Ice Cream Man? Things have changed there, too. He came through our neighborhood last week, bringing delight to my heart. Greg, Derek and I walked to the truck and ordered popsicles. Our order came to $6.75.
"I'm glad popsicles didn't cost $6.75 when I was growing up," I said. "I wouldn't have ever got one!"
Things change. But maybe somewhere, some child is running through a sprinkler or daring their friends to eat sour blackberries. I hope so.

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