Oh summer! Sweet, sensational summer. Packed full of events and goings on, keeping us all extremely busy, and thusly making it fly by far to quickly. Camping, road trips, the random small town festivals and the ever present free concert in the park. Aaand, oh, oh those su-uh-mer nights. Wella, wella…..
I find that they are good place to hang out with friends and enjoy the day. Recently my mom, who tends to be an introvert, asked me to join her for a concert in the local square. This was something a little out of her comfort zone I think, so of course I was willing to be her wing-woman. Besides, if I didn’t like the music, I could enjoy the sweet summer air.
The concert was held in the historic downtown area of the city, within a meandering stroll from the mall. An old stone street lined with small locally owned mom-and-pop stores and eateries led to the venue, which was a large modern amphitheater that overlooked the green. Well, it is green when it isn’t covered with folding chairs and a mass of bodies laughing, dancing and swaying to the already wailing musicians.
We arrived a few minutes after the band was scheduled to start and the large city-block sized space was standing room only. We managed to find ourselves a little unoccupied corner on the sidewalk, just behind the ornamental waist high fence and to the far right of the stage. Stage left for my theater folk…..We settled into our chairs and attempted to let our ears take in the sound. Sadly, our locale was not conducive of a true listening experience, lyrics were difficult to make out over the vibrating beat in my chest from the bass, but we had our to-cool-for-school shades on and we wouldn’t let that discourage us.
As it was difficult to observe the band from our location, my mom and I took to a favorite past time. People watching! Yup, it’s hereditary.
As the mid evening sun cast a fading light onto the facades of the lovingly restored historic stone and brick buildings, we watched the crowd move and breathe with an array of characters. We even commented from time to time to one another, making note of some specific characters. The kids are some of the favorites, they dance like no one is watching. Completely care free, paying no mind to anyone around them, letting the feel of the music drive them. Arms out, spinning a circles and lifting their eyes upwards toward the sky, they didn’t have any qualms about appearances. The littlest ones simply bouncing in their diapers and tiny jumpers. I miss that feeling sometimes.
We watched as women and men, some with the standard mid-west gut, resting from a long work day on folding chairs, sunglasses resting on their faces, and beer in hand. Others were dancing and moving, clapping their hands to the sound of the notes that flitted through the air. Not as fancy free as their much younger counterparts, but happy nonetheless. There was also the typical high school crowd, girls wearing Daisy Dukes and midriff bearing shirts, and guys wearing T-shirts that were a wee bit too tight.
Out of nowhere came the aroma of popcorn and cinnamon. I wasn’t sure who had it or where it was coming from, but it smelled to me like a summer carnival. My mind instantly filled with memories of the little local carnival that would come through town every year. As kids it marked the midway point of summer for us, and was a reminder that we needed to savor every last warm ray of sun.
My mom and I listened to the music and murmur of the crowd around us for sure me time. But as the sun started to dip lower, we decided it was time to leave. Weaving in and out of clumps of people, we made our way back to the parked car. It wasn’t an overly dramatic evening, but it was certainly was enjoyable. And those are the ones that should fill all of our summer nights.