Mid-West Friday Night

Considering this Mid-Western summer has been the hottest in recorded history with 44+ days over 90 degrees and humidity that off the charts and no rain whatsoever, today was a very welcome reprieve. Today was a mere 73 degrees slightly sunny with a gentle breeze. The perfect weather for taking a long walk around the neighborhood, along the city streets or better still, through the woods. While the typically beautiful season of Fall leaves mid westerners surrounded by fiery colors, bonfires and the smell of apples, this year we will have no such delights. Yet this year, the majority of our trees have already shed their leaves, bonfires have been banned and most of the crops have dried up and withered away. This leaves little to look forward to outside.
As with most the kids across the country, our small corner of the world resumed school and tonight is our first hometown High School Football game. The weather is perfect as parents pile into the stadium, the band begins tuning up their instruments and hundreds of kids mill about aimlessly all talking at once divided into their little clicks.
Twenty years after my own High School graduation I watch my own 15 year old daughter and her friends dance about her bedroom listening to some band I don’t recognize, putting on their make-up and fixing their hair before they head back to school for the first Friday night Football game of the season. Their excitement is almost intoxicating, their laughter, their chatter. I stand outside her bedroom door and close my eyes. It is almost a replica of me and my old friends. The gossiping, the playful banter, the worrying about if so n’ so noticed you in the cafeteria that day at school. The entire scene plays out the same across thousands of households at the same time.
Finally the hour has arrived. The girls have their school ID’s, their pocket money and their sweatshirts. I drop them off at the gates and they literally bounce to the stadium. The sun begins to fad behind the school as the lights over the school stadium come to life. As I pull out of the parking lot amidst the sea of other parents I vaguely hear the announcer’s voice ring out over the crowd and a whistle blows.
Now I for one would never want to relive my teen years let along my High Schools days…they weren’t that fabulous the first time around, but in the split second that I stirred my car back towards our suburban neighborhood in Nowhere Special, America, I found myself envying my daughter’s youth and the kinds of friendships it entails. I don’t miss those days, but I do miss those friends…