Being eight, almost nine

ANNA 8 or 9 06.30.15  The last day of June and we’ve survived the Heat Advisory.  It was the historic heat event predicted and we never left the lake.  The big boys kayaked up to the Lutheran Camp and spent one morning flinging themselves off the high dive.  Duncan, Anna and I spent hours on various flotation devices, bobbing far out in the water.  They love doing an “evening swim”, as they call it, just before getting into their jammies at the golden sunset. Anna and I were lying in the hammock one afternoon, talking about her upcoming ninth birthday.  She said that she wishes she could just stay eight, as it’s the best age ever, but her teacher next year is supposed to be better than this year’s, so, actually, being nine will be a good age as well.  When she was six, I framed a lovely photo of her, standing on the hill, golden sunset shining in her hair, and included A.A. Milne’s poem, “Now We Are Six”–

Now We Are Six – A.A. Milne
When I was one I had just begun
When I was two I was nearly new

When I was three I was hardly me
When I was four I was not much more

When I was five I was just alive
But now I am six, I’m as clever as clever;

So I think I’ll be six now for ever and ever.

Oh, to stay six, or eight or nine, forever!  I’ve been remembering my own life when I was eight or nine.  That was about the time our family of six took a vacation to Foxwood Inn in Ontario.  It’s funny what memories come back after 60 years.  It was the first time I ever tasted apple juice, and this morning when I had a cold glass-full, I thought about the big table in the lodge dining room and how we took our waitress out water-skiing.  And how my brother, Doug, swam all the way out in the cold lake to the dock, our Dad paddling next to him in a canoe.  We thought it was some sort of Olympic feat to swim that far and we talked about it for years.  Summer and childhood.  We can be lucky enough to feel it again when we are in the presence of children.

When the grandchildren go home, I’ll be flying down to Denver to see my brother, hospitalized with leukemia.  An Olympic battle is ahead of him.  “Those were the days, my friend…we thought they’d never end.”

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