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Backyard Holiday

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Ushering in summer with toys for the season on Memorial Day weekend.   By Hannah Wallace   How about this weather? As Copy Editor Megan put it, “It was sort of like some…meteorological…person…was saying, ‘You deserve a little niceness on this three-day weekend.’”   The problem is, I feel obligated to enjoy holiday weekends to […]

May 27, 2008


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Ushering in summer with toys for the season on Memorial Day weekend.
 
By Hannah Wallace
 
How about this weather? As Copy Editor Megan put it, “It was sort of like some…meteorological…person…was saying, ‘You deserve a little niceness on this three-day weekend.’”
 
The problem is, I feel obligated to enjoy holiday weekends to the point of stressing myself with efforts to relax. Can’t plan too much; then I spend the weekend worrying about schedules. But if I plan too little, I risk letting the weekend go right on by without making the chance to appreciate it.

The solution? A Slip ‘n Slide, of course!

 
Years ago I quashed dreams of revisiting my slipping, sliding childhood when someone pointed out that Wham-o forbids anyone over 100 lbs. to use a Slip ‘n Slide. Screw that. Summertime is all about internal bleeding.
 
Actually, it was much less painful than I feared—and just as fun as I remembered. And since it was just $12 at Sports Authority, we could afford an inner tube to cushion our dives.

Plus: Entertains the neighbors! Everybody wins!

You can add the Slip ‘n Slide to our arsenal of backyard games. Sunday afternoon, after we splooshed down the slide, through the inflatable pool at the end and into the grassy puddle beyond a few times, we stood in our bathing suits and played catch with our toy lacrosse sticks, stomping barefoot in the mud. The grass needed to be watered, anyway. Shut up: We’re responsible adults.
 

Actually, I caught myself for the briefest of moments feeling uncomfortable at putting my feet in the yardwater, getting grass clippings in between my toes. As though I would immediately have to jump in bed, transferring all the water and lawn flotsam to my sheets. Fortunately I realized that there was no reason not to be a muddy, grassy mess. I mean, good lord, it’s grass. And the hose was right there. What a blessing that realization was: Have you experienced lately the pure joy of standing soaking wet in your back yard, in the sunshine, splashing your feet in water?

 

That evening, we played with another of our backyard toys—the grill—and cooked up some tasty hamburgers. That’s how you do Sunday in the summertime.

 
I had to apply my relaxed weekend view to the traffic Monday as we took a chance that the beach would not suck on Memorial Day, and headed toward Anna Maria Island. Took 15 minutes to get from one end of Cortez Bridge to the other, but hey, where did we have to be?
 
Still, staying relaxed was no small feat; the stupid people were out in droves. CCB and I took a jog down the sidewalk that runs along Bradenton Beach, and on the way back we passed a Rhodes Scholar who, it seemed, had emptied his still-burning charcoal at the base of the sea oats. When we saw it, the flames were taller than the genius who was standing next to them pouring out his 12-oz. water bottle onto the pyre.
 
Set…the beach…on fire. He burned down the beach. Idiot or talented arsonist? No reason he can’t be both.
 
We stuck with more conventional entertainment. After paddleball in the sand and football in the water, we dragged our sunburned hides home to our new Wii (a recent CCB impulse buy), playing Wii tennis and baseball with as much vigor as we do our backyard games. Because summertime is about all these things. But it’s also about air conditioning.