Memories of Summer Nights

Quote of the Day:     “Hold on a minute. Don’t get out. I’ve got a feelin its about to come on.”     –Larry to TB, having a psychic moment circa 1986 correctly anticipating his favorite “Fort” song being played

One of the things I love about Facebook is being able to keep up with so many people I’ve known through the years through their pithy, often witty status updates. In particular it is good to hear from those who travel in completely different circles than TB. Lately there has been an avalanche of notes about the onset of summer as defined by the last day of school. Is there another phrase in the English language that connotes such joy and anticipation as “last day of school”? For fourteen years going back and another few looking ahead the phrase has not/will not apply to me, but thanks to Facebook I am reveling vicariously this year in the pleasure of many friends.

Best of all about summer is the nighttime. Among my earliest summer memories are those where I was allowed to stay up past the school year bedtime, watching Monday Night Baseball. In particular I have vivid childhood recollections of watching the Major League All-Star game. What stands out most in memory are the uniforms–the mid-1970’s color explosions that characterized them and the appearance of such mythical names heard but never seen on tv such as the Mariners or the Indians. I also recall the Aqua-velva and Old Spice commercials starring Pete Rose or Steve Garvey, the inevitable 70’s streaker or kissing bandit and National League dominance, often due to the heroics of one my Redlegs. Of course, it wasn’t all about staying inside and watching sports; the excitement of neighborhood play after dark–kick the can, spotlight, eventually rolling or pine-coning the grouchy old dude’s yard–the opportunity to be outside after dark was never wasted.

As the elementary school years wore on,summer nights more and more meant baseball under the lights, watching and playing, then post game trips to May’s Superburger or Tastee Freeze. For a few years I stalked foul balls and home run hitters in quest of the always enticing free sno-cone, then later on I did my part to return the favor for the little ones. I can smell the ballfields of my youth as I sit here typing. A mixture of damp grass, red dirt, cigarette smoke, polyester, cotton candy, illicit booze, and grease. That smell doesn’t exist any more except in memory; it’s too bad.

In high school the ballgames were still being played. By then, along with the still burning competitive fire to win was the parallel chase for girls. The spirit of conversations on the mound with teammates and at the bases with opponents stays with me. “All we need is three more outs. Throw strikes. We need to get out of here by 9 so we can get showered up and hit the point.” Or, “Nice hit. You goin’ out afterwards? I need a ride.” By ten we’d be cruising up Market Street to the Pizza Hut parking lot for turnaround, then down to Beach Boulevard and over to the Point  until it started hoppin. Van Halen blaring, or the Crue or Bon Jovi, or whichever hair band was in favor any given week. With luck, we’d find a girl and keep going past the Pizza Hut on the next run, maybe all the way down to the Old Spanish Fort for a little privacy and a radio change to a station more suitable for the moment.

Summer nights are still great. When it gets cool enough to escape the daylight heat and then run the gnats and mosquitos of dusk away, a gentle breeze, a moonlit sky, some good tunes, an ice chest full of cold beer and an ARB to tell old lies with, or the right girl, sometimes both…..that’s about as good as it gets. My crew just got news from our daytime lives, a work conflict removed today, that frees up the forthcoming summer nights unexpectedly. I think I’ll make sure the cooler is cleaned out and maybe add a few 80’s hits to the ipod. One of them is for you Sweet, one for Larry and one for BR (this week’s honorees for spotlight on the commenters).

–A forgotten 80’s Summer Nights playlist–

  • Summer Nights–Van Halen
  • Cherish–Kool and the Gang
  • Say it Isn’t So–The Outfield
  • Smooth Operator–Sade
  • The Rain–Oran Juice Jones
  • Runaway–Bon Jovi
  • Livin After Midnight–Judas Priest

About travellinbaen

I'm a 40 year old lawyer living in Ridgeland, Mississippi. I'm several years and a couple hundred miles removed from most of my old running buddies so I started the blog to provide an outlet for many of the observations and ideas that used to be the subjects of our late night/happy hour/halftime conversations and arguments.
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25 Responses to Memories of Summer Nights

  1. Harmony says:

    So much nostalgia in summer nights. The wonders of the universe open for all to peer into.

    We were big on hide and seek at night (as there was nothing else to do). Some of us hid to make out with boys, the others were young and just wanted to play.

    The best thing to do on a summer night is swimming…floating around and watching the stars. And occasionally acting like astronauts. T

  2. Zeek says:

    How about screaming your lungs out as you hang your head out of the Tingle’s Sentra after upsetting a very cocky, beligerant bunch of Laurel red necks for the 83′ Dixie Youth State Championship on your way to Quincy’s in Gautier to celebrate with big fat yeast rolls?? That was a long sentence. That night will live in infamy!!

  3. H–we had one summer with an empty house and a clean swimming pool in the neighborhood. Good times.

    Zeek–the good kind of police escort that night, wasn’t it? That was a sweet time.

    A 1983 drive to St. Martin every day for a week playlist would have to include Every Breath You Take, Electric Avenue, My House in the Middle of My Street–what am I missing?

  4. irvineredd says:

    I’m hoping to make a new memory tonight. Going to see Little Feat this evening.

    We had many a pier party during the summer in high school. Always was enjoyable.

  5. smilyj says:

    I’m feelin it, man.

    Pineconing a yard. I’m sure we invented that. Or at least I’m claiming it.

    I remember street light ball. Man, I could’nt begin to come up with the complex creative rules that we developed for that game(throwing a ball at a street light) I my advanced age. Must be getting dumber.

    The swimming pool! What dumbasses.

    One day we’ll be the grouchy old man. I’ll secretly be laughing if I get pineconed or similar antics.

    I recommend “Fila” for BR’s song. A salt’n pepper tune for Sweetness. And “Fatback lovin'” for Larry.

  6. smilyj says:

    Throw in a Crue tune for Smilyj. And drink a beer for me. I’d appreciate it.

  7. Samsmama says:

    Childhood summers make me think of playing “Ghost in the Graveyard”. But now I’ve got “Summer Nights” stuck in my head. And I’m really ok with it.

    What an excellent read!

  8. S&M you are lucky its Summer Nights. I’m stuck on Cherish.

    Smily, for you the tune would have to go back to junior high–obviously its 7 Spanish Angels, Willie and Ray Charles.

  9. Jessie Lou says:

    We spent many a night playing chase down on Buena Vista Street. Sometimes my dad would take us floundering but I didn’t much care for being in the water in the dark wondering where JAWS was. High school memories involve the movie “Grease” – we were all beginning to drive then, baseball games and Hi Jinx initiations and dances. Songs include – Summer Nights, Magnet and Steel, We are Family, Renegade.

  10. follyjon says:

    Best summer Song ever for you:

    Summertime – Fresh Prince

    “Back then I really didn’t know what it was”

  11. coachteajay says:

    summer begins for me in about 38 hours, countdown is on. Headed to the dock down the street to watch the boats and sunset. Beer included.

  12. Madd Dawg says:

    I remember one Summer night where I was at the Fort with my girlfriend. The night was warm, the beer was cold and we decided to go swimming.

    There I was thinking things couldn’t go any better—-15 years old, Zephyr parked in the cemetary, great buzz going, beer(s) in one hand and with my almost nude girlfriend in the other.
    We, of course, did not notice the two jackas–es coming up on us slowly in a boat (I guess they were fishing at midnight or something).

    It kind of ruined the moment.

  13. Jessie Lou says:

    I bet it was the highlight of their night MD. I can almost picture it in my head. Good story!

  14. Madd Dawg says:

    As my chick ran for the shore, I just stood there staring at them while they drifted past me not more than 10 feet away. None of the three of us said a word.

    Being one with some faith in humanity, I have always imagined/hoped that they felt bad about messing up my moment.

  15. There was another time two jackasses happened upon you at the fort when it appeared briefly you were sitting in your car alone.

  16. larry says:

    Or the worst – sitting at the Fort with a young lady the 5-0 arrives and to protect the honor of the young lady you have to get out of the car and meet the officer with only short pants and socks and explain to the Copper what exactly you are doing in a circa 1800s graveyard at 12:30 in the morning. The standard answer of listening to the radio and talking almost always worked. Of course the officer would generally send you on your way.

  17. quail09 says:

    MD….My brother, Carl, and i used to take my papaw’s bass boat up the river to pine island in the summer…..mostly we water skiied and drank beer….one day, we got the bright idea to water ski naked…bull conerly and catfish stevens were along on this trip….i was enjoying my turn…decided i would ski up close to a little skiff with a lone fisherman in it…the guy was mindin his business in a little, quiet area of the river when four dumbasses decide to buzz him with a streaker in tow….well, just as i got next to his boat, i wiped out….there i was butt naked in a quiet river next to an old guy in a boat not 10 feet away from me….it seemed like an hour before my ARBs could get the boat turned around and back to pick me up…..the old dude never said a word to me

  18. That scene’s goin in the movie

  19. Madd Dawg says:

    that’s some funny stuff right there qc

  20. Zeek says:

    Quail, glad I was not there to see Lil’ Q, but funny!!

    MD, All those guys had to do was wait about 15 seconds and you would have been done . Then they could have the fishin spot.

    TB– Have to vote thumbs down on the new website deco. Change is not good. And as far as your bonus quote goes, I concur with RR.

  21. Zeek, I agreed with RSR too. On the new layout, first it’s not “real” change. And second, you shall henceforth have the honorary title of “Official Naysayer of Travellinbaen.”

    And I like where you went with your story sentence.

  22. RockStarRambler says:

    Best summer song of the 80s, maybe of all time:

    Stone in Love – Journey

    “Those crazy nights, I do remember in my youth. I do recall, those were the best times, most of all.”

  23. Jessie Lou says:

    Time heals all change – it will take a while to get used to it but it really matters not in the grand scheme of things. It is the company!

  24. quail09 says:

    Little Q (also known as q) WAS experiencing a little shrinkage…i’ll admit

    • Belhsen says:

      Erina There’s something so inbidercly warm and welcoming about Cook & Brown, isn’t there? It was just great to be there, even briefly. Are you working again this weekend? If so I hope to see you again!Russell Yeah, let’s just say I think I understand all I need to from the people in charge xxooBrad I’m so glad you and your wife liked it! I suspect I just missed you, but I’m sure we’ll cross paths eventually.Mary it was a rough weekend. I think I just needed to let all of that negative energy go and listen to what I really needed *for me.* And it seemed to do the trick

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