for the past five or six summers, i have read "dandelion wine" by ray bradbury. it is one of BAABEEe's favorite books, and since i read it for the first time in balboa, i have loved it.....especially reading it at the beach. it is a story of summer....or stories of summer.....stories of being a young boy without a care in the world other than what the hell to do that day. it is based on multiple summers of ray bradbury's life and all the little stories he remembers. some are sad, some are funny, and some crazy, but they all are things that clearly impacted ray bradbury's life and he will never forget.
instead of thinking of what those same stories have been in my life, i like to think of what they may be for my kids. which is why i like reading it in balboa, because my kids LOVE going to balboa. they love the beach - but who doesn't....actually, i bet the old lady in goonies didn't like the beach - she just seemed so grumpy, and nobody that looks like that could like the beach. but then again, she probably didn't like anything. seriously, what do you think her two sons (and sloth) would get her for her birthday? i bet they got her a few boxes of kraft macaroni and cheese, cause i don't care how grumpy you are, you still probably like kraft macaroni and cheese. unless you are lactose intolerant. in which case, maybe that is why she was so grumpy.....but i bet not. anyway, back to the beach and balboa. my kids love it. and one of the main reasons they love it is because they love summer, just like bradbury. they love swimming and no school and freedom. they love the nothingness that summer brings. and even while loving nothingness, they love the prospect of what summer might bring. the anticipation of "what will we do today". who knows, and who cares, cause we are going to love it whatever it is.
this leads me to one of my favorite parts of dandelion wine. bradbury's character douglas spaulding starts his summer by recording on a tablet two categories - "rites and ceremonies" and "discoveries and revelations". the rites and ceremonies are things that he does every summer. things he HAS to do every summer. things that define summer for him as a boy. and then his discoveries and revelations are things he does for the first time....or things he thinks about for the first time while pondering of rites and ceremonies. my kids definitely have their rites and ceremonies - almost obnoxiously so:
if i were to do as douglas spaulding does, i could say "RITE - every summer my kids read harry potter - starting with book 1 and reading up to the point you are allowed to read to per mom's rules. which means by the time you have read book 7, you have read book 1 seven times....REVELATION - by the time they finish the 7th book, they will have read 14,752 pages of harry potter books". or another example would be, "CEREMONY - donuts at night....mmmm, they are so good at night....DISCOVERY - sliding on a board in irrigation is really fun".
certainly i could come up with more, but i want my kids to think it through. but every summer i think i am going to make them create a discoveries and revelations list as well as their ceremonial "summer list", but every summer i forget. and here we are again - school has just started and not only did we not complete our summer list, but we most definitely did not remember to document our discoveries and revelations. and it is not something you can do after the fact. it has to be done during summer. so....hopefully next summer i can remember.
and this brings me to my final thought in this rambling post that probably won't make sense to even me in a few years.....i love my kids rites and ceremonies. i think this is why i love dandelion wine so much too. although some of his rites are so different and/or dated, like gathering fox grapes, they can be easily transformed into our time and place (phoenix or balboa), like gathering citrus or seashells. and they make my kids appreciate and love the simple things....because the simple things are often the most enjoyable....and they allow for even more appreciation of the non-simple things ("what will we do today"). i may make fun of the "summer list", but i love it.