You can make that noise with the back of your knee too, apparently

There are likely lots of people that might disagree with me, but I find the weather tonight to be downright delightful, at least in these here parts. It’s 65 and sweetly sticky out, which makes it a little cool and a little damp. Still, it’s reminiscent enough of the humid summer days to come that I’m reminded to enjoy the moderate temperature while we have it.

A decade ago, a night like tonight would have found me with a friend or two, relaxing with a few cold bottles of beer on someone’s deck or back porch, likely with Marty and Joe on the radio in the background. Our discussion could have consisted of a wide array of possible topics, ranging from the deep and philosophical to lifetime plans not yet fully formed or set in motion. We would have hotly debated the odds that this year would finally see the Bengals back in the playoffs, and if the weekend was approaching, there would have been idle talk of doing something fun this weekend, unlike all the other weekends full of the same-old, same-old (that somehow ended up a good time, nonetheless). Yes, a night like tonight, with stars peeking out from the clouds and the crickets chirping with vigor for the first time this spring, would have been a wonderful night to sit a spell and just be.

Of course, my friends and I largely traded in our weeknight hanging out permits for serious careers and family matters. I’ve got a seven year old that almost has to be nailed to his mattress on a nightly basis because he can’t stop thinking of things to ruminate on. Once he starts the nightly reflection, questions soon follow; the kinds of questions that make you realize he’s working out how life works (or doesn’t, as the case may be). I’m of the opinion that as long as he’s doing creative consideration and not just running in to show me how he can make fart-like noises with his armpit, well, that’s something that ought be supported rather than stifled. Trust me, there’s plenty enough of the armpit noises during the day, so when a young ‘un shows some genuine thought once things slow down, the last thing you want to do is discourage the practice.

At any rate, of course there’s the occasional gathering where we lounge and do little more than pass around a flask full of nostalgia, but we’ve all got too much life happening at the moment to roll the way we did back then. The lucky thing, though, is that it’s the good stuff that makes it hard to sit around with a six pack on a random Wednesday night with your buddies. I wouldn’t trade having the privilege of hearing my kids’ bedtime thoughts for a whole lifetime of pleasant evenings on the porch.

I might go outside after I finish posting here, lean over the railing of my sad excuse for a postage stamp deck that needs to be rebuilt (we are taking donations), and enjoy a cold beer, the sound of the crickets, and the weight of the damp air around me. First, though, I’m going to go upstairs and tuck in the kids and turn off hall light if they’re asleep. Enjoying a nice spring evening is a soothing way to end a hectic day, but it pales in comparison to the peace of tucking your kids in and tip-toeing down the hall when they’ve finally drifted off.

Pud’n

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