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Sunday, July 14, 2024

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Notes to my Neighbors 3.22.2006

By Rick Racela

“Thank God It’s Spring.”
I might have done something drastic if it hadn’t arrived this week.
I’m at the end of my patience with cold winds, static electricity, and front steps that are slick with frost.
I can’t wait for mild temperatures so I can run on the beach with the wind in my hair. (I believe I hear “Champions of Fire.”) I’ll ride my bike on the boardwalk, and sun myself on the porch.
It’s true.
Honest.
Just watch. I’ll be doing all those things – everyday.
Well, maybe once a week.
Okay, maybe just once.
Or maybe not.
It’s just that I lose interest easily, even in the most exciting things.
And I was truly excited last week, at the first inkling that warm temperatures were heading for us.
I threw open the windows at home, packed my sweaters away, jumped into the car, and put the top down.
I did this, all the while knowing that it won’t take long before I stop noticing – let alone appreciating – the fact that warm weather’s finally here.
It’s like living near the beach.
When we moved here, for the first month or so I walked miles by the water, almost daily. I took rolls and rolls of film of “the beach at sunset,” and “the beach after a storm,” and “the beach covered with seagulls.” (Yes, in those early days, I thought seagulls were cute.)
Shortly, I gave that up and took up the habit of parking my car in a spot where I could see the surf. I’d sit and have my coffee there, watching the waves, but never moving from the driver’s seat.
Later, I’d only sometimes remember to glance in the direction of the beach from the porch, before going down the steps and driving off in the opposite direction.
However, even though the thrill may be short-lived, I love how the first days of every season make everything new again.
When we had those few 70-degree days a week ago, I felt as though I had been shaken awake, after months of steeling myself against mukluk weather. Slowly I released a long, deep sigh, the kind you let go after coming this close to a car crash.
Did I put the top down? Oh, yes! I knew it was temporary, but it felt wonderful just the same.
Part of that feeling is the pure reawakening of my senses to my surroundings, but there’s another facet to it.
When each new season arrives, memories of earlier ones revive.
The beginning of spring reminds me of so many springs before.
Like the April of my eighth year when it snowed on Easter, just a dusting. I remember walking to church with my family, wearing the very grown-up suit my mother made for me. I remember tiptoeing around snow-puddles in my brand new patent leather shoes.
I remember another spring, years later, the one that fell between our engagement and our summer wedding. That was the year I decided that spring was by far the most romantic season.
I remember three springs in the ’70s when we welcomed new babies into our little family. All three born in March, almost exactly two years apart.
So many more springs since then – our boys’ baseball games, Beth’s ballet recitals, graduations, weddings…
Last Saturday, I attended a baby shower for my dear friend’s daughter. It was chilly, but sunny, and the trees along the Parkway were fuzzy with reddish buds.
The party reminded me of the kind we threw so many years ago.
It was held in the home of the grandmother-to-be, my friend, who had cooked all day Friday to prepare a fabulous brunch. Afterward, two-dozen women watched (and laughed and reminisced about their own pregnancies), as the new mom open gifts.
New season. New mother. Old traditions.
Reminds me of what’s really important.
And that, my friends, I never take for granted.
Lots of our neighbors are celebrating similar milestones this week: engagements, sports championships, and even a centennial birthday.
Have you sent in pictures of your special moments?

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