Summer Stroll

It’s August hot and our street shrieks with the sounds of insects yelling in the summer heat. The high-pitched noise is distorted by the humidity, and the summer sounds wave through the air like I’m under water. A jetliner roars over head and baby Jack stares at me with a curious and puzzled look. We are off for a stroll on our day off together.

Jack is awake for about ten blocks before he decides to settle his head into a small nook in the side of the stroller letting a midday summer nap take over. His cheeks are red and his forehead is glazed with sweat. He swells fat and smirks contentedly drifting off to his dreams.

We walk by a man poring chemicals into a hot tub with fake stone walls on its sides and white marble looking plastic lining. The man is about sixty, overweight, and he’s wearing a pale baby blue T-shirt, worn gym shorts, and a sun bleached straw cowboy hat. The mature azaleas in his front yard stand tall and their dark green waxy leaves provide the man with a sense of privacy. He is looking forward to a lazy Sunday in the jacuzzi.

A giant strange prehistoric insect buzzes by us. The streets smell like mulch and fresh-cut grass baking underneath the relentless sun. Jack and I get a break from the August sun courtesy of the hundred year old oak and sycamore trees that shoot up seventy feet above us. He is oblivious to the cars rushing by along route five, and old white-shield highway that cuts through a dozen New England towns just like this one. A while ago we passed mostly modest and even some run down houses on the side streets, but huge estates line this parkway. One house has a half circle driveway where cars enter from one side and exit from the other. There are two thirty foot white columns propping up the front of the house and a spacious balcony juts out on the second floor, an amenity for the master bedroom.

Next we pass a tag sale. The home owners are outside with their children, who are now adolescents, selling out dated furniture, fake paintings and a rusty lime green swing set the kids probably loved a few years ago. An old woman fans herself with an old magazine. People around here love tag sales, and this yard probably has as many customers as the strip mall in the center of town.

Finally, we turn back down our dead-end street. Jack is still sleeping, so we stroll around to the back yard and I pick a couple of tomatoes from the garden. Two are just the right blend of green, yellow and light red to bring inside and place on the kitchen windowsill. I grab a small pillow from inside, blop down on our cement front stairs, and wait for Jack to come back from his summer dreams.

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