He said it himself at his last birthday party. My best friend wore a blazer and a shirt with a picture of the prez smoking a j. “19 summers,” he said, chuckling.
“What?” I asked. I didn’t follow.
“One of my coworkers told me recently…that’s all we got left–19 summers.” He stared into the fire pit. We were at Nate’s, a bar in Buda.
“You know, I never thought about it like that…”
That’s what I remember when I saw this guy’s license plate. My family and I were on our way to the park one Sunday in July to toss the frisbee around. We were on the frontage road by the IHOP when I spotted a clean, red Ferrari with a middle-aged man behind the wheel. The ragtop was down and I could tell he was feeling good. What did it say? “25 SUMMERS.”
I got it.
How many do I have left?
I mean, go read all the placards on the green benches at local parks. They’re written for people now gone. Life is short. How many trips to a park before my son has gone away on his own? Before my hips lock up? Before I’m sick and old and can’t move? That’s too heavy a question for me to pose.
We found a parking spot and looked around. But as soon as I stepped on the grass, I let go of the big questions. Questions too big to fit into my mind.
I saw a photographer going from park goer to park goer, picnic to picnic, asking if he could take their photographs. He bent forward and held his hands behind his back like a butler as he asked. Every one of them accepted. One group of girls, each wearing fluffy pastel Sunday dresses in white cowboy boots, posed for the camera. Each girl lifted a heel, holding down her cowboy hat, and smiled for the pics.
My son and I threw the frisbee around. He sprinted and I led with the disc. He chased it, timed it, and reached out for the grab.
“Let’s go to the rock,” I said. We hiked to the famous outcropping of karst and a better view.
We passed over weeds with flowers called Feverfew and marveled at the Honey Mesquite tree and its long, bent boughs spread right over the ground. We climbed the rock and received a cool surprise. A DJ and a small group of people were sitting on blankets on the other side. The playlist: all Lo-fi, Hip Hop and R&B mashups–my kind of vibe.
We picked a rock to lounge on and people-watched as we received our second surprise. Another summer with warm colors from a pink and purple sky.