Whatta ya do in summer?

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 5, 2001

School is about to wind on down, and when it does, there comes that familiar sound of which we have all become accustomed.

"We're bored-what can we do?" or "There's nothing to do."

These questions were never asked more than once by my generation, because we were told to rely on our imaginations-and that we did.

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But I guess gone are the days when it was fun to find the best blade of grass to hold between one's thumbs and blow on it to make a shrill noise just like a saxophone reed.

Or how about making a whistle with an acorn lid held between two thumb tips.

Although these are just very minute examples of something to do, life in the summer involved constant thinking of new ideas for entertainment.

At my grandfather's house, he made what looked like a gate (actually, I think it was), mounted on a piece of pipe sticking straight up out of the ground.

The gate had a running board on the bottom of it, just like found on an old truck, and you could stand on it and go around and around.

Then there was the steering wheel.

My grandfather had friends who were mechanics, and he got an entire steering column, complete with turn signal switch and gear-shifter, and buried the end of it in the ground at an angle similar to the angle it would be at extending from a dashboard.

Simply moving a few lawn and table chairs behind the steering wheel produced an imaginary school bus, truck, racecar, or whatever else we wanted to drive that day.

Then there was the time my parents got a new washer and dryer set.

The old ones sat in the side yard for a time, until the next trip to the landfill.

It didn't take many more than two or three friends, and we were able moved them in line. Taking the boxes the new equipment had been delivered in, and an old table that was discarded, we created what we regarded as the "Herman Munster" car-you know, that one that was a chopped-up, souped-up hearse?

Somewhere along the way, imagination has been pushed aside, and in its place has been put complete thought processes, developed in some think tank, so that there is no room for any imagination.

And don't ever say the word "pretend"-for some reason, that has fallen off the "cool" list of things to do, but we even rode our bicycles, pretending to be cops and robbers, with traffic lanes, in fact entire towns, drawn on the street pavement to ride in.

The possibilities were endless.

One could be going to the mall, stopping at a bakery, cruising along the open road, getting stopped for traffic violations, all on a bike in our pretend towns.

One thing that was passed on from my parents' generation that I know the kids of today are not interested in was shooting marbles.

It merely took a stick to draw a circle on the dirt, and you had a game to play.

Playing organized activities such as "Mother may I", "Red light, Green light", "hide -and-seek" and "Tag, your it" (I think some kids still play the last two) have grown out of style.

Well, I would have to say that we have quite a task ahead of us, and thank God for the city ball leagues, and the YMCA.

Until next week, I'll see you at the ball fields-I'll be the one out in Deep Left Field.