Thursday, September 13, 2012

Summer is complete

Well, there are only a few more days before summer is officially over -- technically over. It's past Labor Day now and all the kids are back in school, so most people already consider it be be Fall. I made a big, long summer bucket list. I wanted to do at least half of the items on the list. I did. And in late summer I tweaked it and took off some that I realized I really didn't want to do all that much. For example, I had a couple splash pads on the list, but I realized that my kids are really beyond that now. My youngest turned 7 in April. They enjoy water parks much more. So, I removed those. In the end, I did 28 out of 44 on the list. Several were done multiple times, like trips to the library, Cubs games, kite flying and going out for ice cream. There were some I really wanted to do, but didn't accomplish - like fishing, camping and attending a county fair, but it was a nice summer filled with fun. And I'll plan differently next year to make sure I fit in more of what everyone wants to do. And...there are still a few days of summer left. It's not too late.

One thing I didn't put on the list, but that I have to do at least once each summer is attend a concert. My favorite venue is First Midwest Bank Amphitheater. You'd think that it would be something I'd want to enjoy with a group of my peers, but some of the most memorable concerts I've been to were with my dad or my former co-worker and buddy, Fran, who has a few years on my dad. I've also really started to enjoy concerts with the younger set - my sons and nephews. The past couple years I took them to see Bon Jovi at Soldier Field and Paul McCartney at Wrigley Field. After years and years of protest, a couple of my boys have finally warmed up to country music, so I was happy to hear my oldest son say he'd like to go to a country concert at First Midwest Band Amphitheater. We planned to go see Jason Aldean, but it had sold out, so we got tickets to go see Toby Keith. I've seen Toby live at that venue below and he always puts on a great show. So, my oldest son and I went off to the concert. I knew my son, who turned 18 in May, would love the patriotic theme that seems to run through his shows.

There are always the kinks or the drawbacks of live shows...we parked in an unfamiliar lot and walked way farther than usual, then had a long walk to find the will-call window, a light fog of marijuana smoke lingered, end of the aisle seats that had us getting up every two minutes to let someone out of the row AND a four-song delay for the bathrooms that had me hearing Red Solo Cup being sang by a chorus of intoxicated women in bathroom stalls over the band.

Then the upside...the weather was absolutely beautiful! There is nothing like standing in the pavilion watching the sun go down while a light breeze blows by and live country music is being played just steps away. And it was a fun evening with my son. During the many pro-American, pro-troops songs, the crowd went wild. Several military guys in uniform joined him on stage. (*A side note: at this time last year, my son was talking with a recruiter and thinking of enlisting in the Marines.)

After the show, we were walking through the aisles and came upon a guy in full fatigues. My son (who is often pretty quiet, reserved and shy) looked and him, and confidently said "Thank you." There may have even been a sir on the end of it. The guy responded with "Thanks a lot man," and when my son extended his hand to shake, the guy grabbed his hand and shaked it, then gave him a big bear hug. Made mama proud to see that.

So, summer is almost over and now complete. What is one thing you have to do each summer?

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