I was on a vacation of sorts last week and had the opportunity to spend a week or so of uninterrupted time with my kid. Strange how time seems to move by so quickly. We didn’t really do anything that could be deemed “special”.

There was the movie that we went to see in which she got to see her dad bawl like a baby at some of the more moving parts of the film. I remember sitting there trying my hardest to stifle a sniffle or two and her tossing me a sideways glance. I guess it kinda took her by surprise to discover that her dad is a sentimental old fart when it comes to things that tug at my heartstrings. I cry easy and I cry often and I hope she thinks I’m a better person for it.

I took her out to the driving range one morning and tried to teach her what little I know about the finer points of golf. For any of you who are aficionado’s of the sport, you can probably feel some of my pain. Once again the sport of golf has taught me something about myself. I’m not cut out to be an instructor, no way, no how. Mind you I wasn’t expecting an Annika Sorenstam or Nancy Lopez type of performance out of my little one but I thought if she made solid contact with the ball she might show some further interest in the sport. I know that was all it took for me. The first time I hit a golf ball and didn’t feel it come of the face of my club was almost an indescribable feeling. It’s a shame that feeling (for me anyway) doesn’t happen more often. Anyway, after going through a bucket of balls I asked her what she thought of the “game”. At first she said it looked easy but then when she tried to hit the ball it was much harder. I thought to myself, “Amen to that little one” and she expressed her preference for team sports. Oh well, even though we didn’t give it much of shot, we at least gave it a try.

And so it was that as the week was coming to an end, she went off to the local swimming pool with some of the other neighborhood kids. I decided to take advantage of the quiet and write down some thoughts. Here’s what I came up with….

Man, there’s nothing like an ice cold beer on a hot summer night.

Mind you now, I’m not talking about the one or ones you might have in some air conditioned, smoke filled local watering hole. You probably know the kind of place I’m talking about. It’s where the conversation often runs deep and the subject matter usually runs the gamut from sports, to ex’s to religion to politics to unions and finally, to some asshole sittin’ at the end of the bar.

No, I’m talking about the one or ones you might have when the quiet comes. When, after a hard day of trying to do all the right things like getting new outfits and back to school supplies comes to an end.. When the time of making breakfast, lunch and dinner for yourself and your kid is over and you’re exhausted and her energy knows no bounds in quest of the latest source of amusement.

And so it was this evening. After doing all of the aforementioned things that go hand in hand with parenting I decided to let my little one go off to the pool with some of the neighborhood kids. I guess I coulda said “No” and that I’d have preferred that she spent what little remaining time we had together. She probably wouldn’t have complained either but I figured her idea of fun was, well, fun.

So I decided to sit down on my porch, light a smoke, crack open a beer or two and take note of my surroundings.

It’s funny. I never quite noticed how quiet the neighborhood got on evenings such as this. The day itself started off hot but as night came on a cool breeze began to filter its way onto and through my porch. There hardly seemed to be sound to disturb me and my mind wandered to the places where it tends to go. Occasionally a flock of starlings would dot the sky and I even saw a small flock of geese flying in formation headed to who knows where .There was the chirping of crickets, the clicking of cicadas and the glow of fireflies all around me. The sound of a television from somewhere off in the distance seemed out of place.

There were a couple of neighborhood folks either out walking their dogs or making their nightly pilgrimage to the Cup o’ Joes at the end of the block. Little if anything was said between us as they passed me by. An occasional nod of the head to those of them that I know acted as a sort of silent acknowledgement of our existence.

A brush of the mosquito on my arm, a dog barks a block or two away and a cat makes it nightly rounds…

All of sudden, a van pulls up and dispenses the neighborhood kids. I listen as they make their plans for tomorrow or riding bikes and playing ball and countless other things. My kid remains strangely silent. I can tell by the look on her face that she had a good time at the pool but something is amiss. She comes up the steps and I ask her how things went even though I probably already know. Her face lights up and she tells me about diving off the board and doing flips and playing games and other assorted adventures.

She asks me if there is “anything wrong” and I tell her “no”. There must have been the look of something on my face that she has detected because she promises to spend the “whole day” with me tomorrow. I say “thank you” and smile to myself, faintly recalling the same promises that I made when I was her age. We go inside, we have a snack, we go through our usual bedtime routine.

I come downstairs, the house is quiet. I go to the fridge, open the door and the light beckons…

Man, there’s nothing like an ice cold beer on a hot summer night.