Lazy, Hazy, Crazy, Gone

There’s a place I want to get back to but I know, sadly, is gone.

It’s the lazy, crazy, summer’s day of my youth. It’s the blazing hot beach when I was 10. I can recall it with the most amazing clarity. Life was so simple. You went to the cottage and you swam in the lake and ate ice cream and roasted marshmallows and went to the drive-in with your folks. You shucked a lot of corn and chased every butterfly in your field of view . It was the best time of my life…as , I suppose, it was for a lot of 10 year olds. Everyone seemed happy and healthy although, clearly, they really couldn’t have been. But the obliviousness of pre-pubescence can only exist once in your life. God, I miss it so.

A few years ago, while on a rambling drive up near the lake, I stopped and talked to the people who reside in the cottage we once used. They were lovely people, busy making memories of their own. I told them how important it all was to me and they invited me to walk about. So I did. I wandered the lawn that overlooked the great blue/green expanse of Lake Huron . I made my way down the deep, cool path that led through the wooded ravine and spilled out onto the brilliant white beach. How many times did I fly down that path, feet barely touching the sand, and hit the water with a splat? How many hours did I wade away, trying to catch minnows in the soupy shallows…only to have them all perish in the bucket? And how many agonizing minutes did we all sit there waiting for the magic one-hour to expire after lunch before we could, once again, take the plunge? Β It was a myth..that Β ‘no swimming after eating’ thing. I have made the whole thing mythical in my mind’s eye. Romanticism for things past can both gladden your heart and drag you down.

So I stood there a few years ago and stared down the beach into the shimmering heat and , I don’t mind telling you, that I started to cry. I wanted it back but I knew that it was gone. The undeniable truth is that I couldn’t take a day in the sun like that anymore. My energy would flag. My mind would be muddled. The distractions distracting me would be those of a man who has now lived more than half of his life. I could never again approach the simple clarity of enjoyment I experienced when I was 10.

It’s gone, but not forgotten. And that has always been the problem.

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14 Responses to “Lazy, Hazy, Crazy, Gone”

  1. Annie Quinty Says:

    Happiness is a blog post from Dave Gerry on a Sunday morning πŸ™‚
    I think it’s better to have those memories than to have none.
    Your blog entry reminds me of an email conversation I had with my siblings earlier this week about end of school year class trips. My siblings and I are all in our forties and fifties. Nowadays class trips take youngsters to Wonderland and New York. We were reminiscing about having brown bagged lunch and going to some outdoor settings (that was the Experimental Farm in Ottawa) to look at trees and collect leaves or watch a movie inside the school gym.
    Things change but as time goes by I believe our best summers are fond memories that are a precious gift in this day and age.
    Enjoy your Sunday!

  2. Dave, I truly enjoyed reading this, as bittersweet as it was. It seems to mirror almost exactly my sentiments around where WE used to vacation when I was the same age. My grandparents had a cottage in Gibsons, B.C. (“Beachcombers” fame) and that’s where we headed every summer back before we moved to London. “Flying down to the path to the beach” was my ritual, as well. Loved the place so damn much I told my wife a few years ago that’s where I wanted my ashes spread. Co-incidentally, a couple of years after that talk, my Dad told me the same thing about HIS ashes. So, now that he’s passed, that’s where we’re headed at the end of the month! Can only imagine a few tears will be shed as well! Take care!

  3. Hi Dave
    Your memories brought back my memories of spending time at Ipperwash Beach. I come from a family of six kids and can’t imagine the work that it took our parents to make the trek there with all of us. Thanks for reminding me.

  4. Thanks folks. It’s almost the era more than the place I miss. But isn’t that the way it is with us all? Thanks for your comments.

  5. Catherine Bell Says:

    Thanks Dave you just brought back a lot of wonderful memories for me too. We had a small cottage on Cooks Bay in Lake Simcoe. We would arrive the day after school was out in June and we went home Labour Day weekend in September. I wore my bathing suit all day until the tan I had made it look like I had a permanent white bathing suit on. We ate canned stew, wieners and beans and thought we were living like royalty…and we were. Not a care in the world! You know we never wore a helmet or sunscreen and when we got thirsty the garden hose was always there. Why did life have to change? It’s so sad that our children and grandchildren will never have that experience. Thanks for the great thoughts Dave. You made my day.

  6. Dave even though you are reminiscing, you sound depressed. Make new memories and enjoy life…don’t look back and wish you were back there, instead be happy you had a great childhood and look forward to tomorrow! Jeorgee
    vivalivie.com

    • Hey Jeorgee…no, not depressed…but I’ve always been a sentimental soul. Life is good and, if the fates allow, life will be better. Given half the chance there are some glorious sunsets (from the helm of my next sailboat) in my future and I intend to savour each and every one of them.

  7. yep, we’re getting older and older by the minute Dave and one day it will be the final chapter with an ending. I grew up on Lake Erie on Bellcreft Beach in Harrow. My husband and I bought a cottage a few years ago on that beach and I honestly think I was trying to reclaim my youth. Didn’t happen. Ofcourse not. Times change, people change, places change. My Mum always told me, ‘you can’t go back’. At least we are fortunate enough to be able to relive those childhood moments in our minds. I dread the day I will not be able to. Take care my friend,
    Gail

  8. Ah, lake Huron. I spent many a summer on those beaches in Grand Bend, Dave. To be ten again, carefree, sand-ridden and clueless, is a place I need not revisit. My youth has nothing on my present. But I understand.

  9. Awwww…if I could I would give you a hug…for you and for me, as I feel exactly the same way, but was always afraid that if I said it no one would understand….thanks Dave.

  10. Fran (@frBurlington) Says:

    Dave, oh the simple life … where did it go? This brought back good memories of cottaging as my parents could not afford the vacations kids nowadays seem to get. We also did a lot of roadtrips to explore this beautiful country we live in. We just did a roadtrip to halifax and how my dad would be so proud that I did that. When did things change? Thanx for the memories … all good.

  11. Kathy Schrader Says:

    Thanx Dave for waking those memories. I live near GB and spent a more than a few summers there…( Jellyststone Parker Thedford too). the thing I love about having those memories memories is the childish notion that they are somehow exclusive to me despite the inherent impossibility of thinking that way. and not childish in the sense of being unwilling to share. Glad you did πŸ™‚

  12. those childhood memories are usually the most colourfull ones πŸ˜‰ the picture is beautiful!!!

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