Happy Birthday to Me!

Spring is in the air, the birds are chirping, the bees are buzzing and today I am forty-one! Ouch!! Something about that puts life in a better perspective. I’m not saying I’m any the wiser, but am definitely older. But that’s a good thing. I wouldn’t want to be 17 years old again (although I do wish I had my 17 year old body). Everyone has heard the old adage ‘If I only knew then what I know now’. Most likely I’d do no different. Not because I made the wisest decisions the first time around, but I did the best I could. I would not want to change anything because those experiences have made me who I am today…both the good and the bad.

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Last Saturday I was invited to the Indiana Author Fair which was being hosted by the Library in my old hometown. There is something about ‘returning to the scene of the crime’. The streets echo whispers from yesterday…walking to softball practices, home from basketball games, Friday night football games, riding bikes with the neighborhood kids and hanging out with friends you thought would be in your life forever. Progress has changed the once small town in Indiana into a city. It’s sad really. It is now a hollow shell of what it once was. Being part of a small town there are a few things we all took for granted;

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1. If our parents didn’t catch us doing something, chances are someone else’s did and ours would find out soon.
2. You graduated with the same kids you went to Kindergarten with.
3. Everyone knew everything about everyone else…and what they didn’t know for sure, they speculated about…A LOT!
4. We rode in the back of a pick-up sitting on the tailgate to Dairy Queen after we’d won a softball game…and it wasn’t illegal.
5. We could ride our bikes all over town and our parents never thought anything of it.
6. The town police and school teachers were also our neighbors and most likely, friends with our parents.
7. Some of the best and wildest parties were held in a barn.

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As a kid I couldn’t wait to escape the confines of my small town. I hated the lack of privacy, the nosey neighbor syndrome, and lack of career opportunities. Now, twenty-some years later, I hate that my children missed out on all the little things I took for granted as a kid. They didn’t grow up in the city, but rather a large suburban town. They got to ride their bikes from stop sign to stop sign until they were in Intermediate school. There are over eight hundred kids in my daughter’s graduating class, I had less than a hundred. A slight difference…

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But the majority of those towns have disappeared, just like mine, to the same villain…progress. Of course, some can still be found. They are just further and further out from the major cities. Most barely appear on a state map. Still, there is something to be said about that feeling of community that those living in the city will never know. And to be really honest, I dearly miss it.

Spring Break

Most people go on vacation for Spring Break, looking for a beach somewhere to bury their toes in the sand after the long harsh winter. And this year, everyone would love to head south. We’ve had a particularly brutal winter and any little signs of spring give us hope.

Along with warmer temps and longer days, spring brings about a long line of showers. Last night I drifted off to the peaceful pitter patter of raindrops falling upon my roof. This morning I was abruptly woken by the crashing of thunder and the pounding of big fat drops stomping an Irish river dance on my rooftop.

But, however rude the wakeup call was, I am ever so grateful it wasn’t snow…again!

Spring in the Midwest is marked by two major events. 1) the Indianapolis 500 at the end of May. 2) the parade of the ‘white legs’.

The first is pretty much self-explanatory regardless of what region of the globe you reside…almost. Having grown up a town over from the track, the allure has worn off almost completely. As a kid I could hear the roar of the cars from my backyard. Fans of the Indy 500 know that each year it’s a gamble whether it will be 90˚ F with a blazing sun or 45˚ F, bitter cold and soaking wet. There’s rarely an in-between on race day. So fair warning, be prepared for either cause the weather in Indy can change drastically in a matter of hours!

Please, allow me to explain the second for those of you who live in sunnier climates. Every spring as the temperature soars to a balmy 55˚ to 60˚ F, Midwesterners break out their shorts and flip flops. Suddenly the world becomes a sea of pasty ‘white legs’ that have not seen sun since the first week of last October! This is not a pretty sight by any means. Still, it is an annual event and a necessary one in celebration of warmer days up ahead. Those who have fled to warmer climates for spring break and return with a bronze tan are actually the ones who stand out the most in the sea of ‘white legs’.

Regardless, spring has finally arrived in Indy and I couldn’t be happier about it! Flowers are starting to bloom, birds are chirping and the trees are budding. It’s a magical time of year when the world finally awakens after a long winter slumber. It’s almost time to sow the ground and plant our vegetable and flower gardens. I am so eager to get started!

Have a great Spring Break. Act a little crazy, do something wacky and out of character. Be safe. And remember to enjoy the April showers people and look forward to the gorgeous May flowers they will bring. Life is good!!