Monday, June 13, 2011

Cause It's Summertime! 7 Things I Love About Summer

Whenever this song would play an older guy
would insist on playing, Summer Madness.
People gathered by the fire hydrant on the corner as we waited for the fireman to open the hydrant so we could get some relief from the heat. Where I’m from kids had to play, we didn’t have the option to sit in the house during the summer. As soon as breakfast was over, somebody knocked on the door and said, “Can Jackson come out and play?” Man, remember when we used to play? Not play video games, but just genuine playing. I think back to what it meant to play group hide and go seek, or ride bikes. But on this day, the temperature was reaching 100 degrees quick, we had our super soakers ready and we were going to make the best of this hot day. Keep in mind this might be the only time you see 5 or 6 boys sitting next to each other eating on Big Icees, those were what life was about on a hot summer day. We were having the time of our lives.

Every summer there was a new song that came out and we held onto it until the end of the summer. We spent the time we had to eat dinner in the crib recording the same songs on cassette tapes, the more times you had the same song on a tape made it easier to remember the music. The year 1994, and you had to know all the words to the music:

Them calls me the funkdafied, funkalistic, vocalistic
with the real shit, we got the shit you can't funk wit
(Why?!) Because we so funkdafied
(Why?!) We make you move from side to side
Well, it's da G H da E T T O, [remember when songs had a random sound byte like a ding dong?]
Brat and J.D. comin' like that big baby
So lay back and listen as I catch up on my pimpin'
And freak this dust just like Ashford and Simpson
(Source: Da Brat - Funkdafied) 

4th of July weekend was about fireworks, but it was also time for everyone to catch the new Blockbuster. We begged for money, or scraped up whatever money we could find and then we would catch the metro over to the mall. For those of us in DC, that place was Beltway Plaza, unless I was hanging out with my cousins and in that case we went to Iverson Mall. The mall was like the club for kids. We couldn’t do much of anything else, but at the mall we could congregate. Playing games like little boys to see who could get the most numbers before we went into the movies. Just so everybody know, at this point and time, there was no stadium seating at the theater and the matinee ticket cost $3.50 at AMC.

Captain Steven Hiller: [talking to the unconscious alien he's dragging] Y'know, this was supposed to be my weekend off, but noooo. You got me out here draggin' your heavy ass through the burnin' desert with your dreadlocks stickin' out the back of my parachute. You gotta come down here with an attitude, actin' all big and bad...
Captain Steven Hiller: and what the hell is that smell? [starts kicking the alien, yelling]
Captain Steven Hiller: I could've been at a barbecue! [kicks the alien one last time and calms down]
Captain Steven Hiller: But I ain't mad.
(Source: Independence Day)

Still remember the day my mother came home and found me in the laundry room with a pair of scissors, some rubber bands and some bleach. I had decided to take my jeans and make shorts. But I also wanted them to have a bleach stain to them and have holes everywhere. My mother was so upset, she had paid good money for those jeans. I’ll tell you right now, it probably wouldn’t have been such a problem, but Iceberg Jeans was pretty expensive back in the day. But anyway there was always something special about the way people dressed in the summer. My particular favorite back in the day was a shorty in some Capri pants and some sandals with the straps going all the way up her ankle to the shin. Looking back I have no clue what they hell I found attractive about that.

You know I don't need a reason to put a NuNu pic.
My grandmother used to joke with me that I didn’t tan, I windburned because the first sight of a strong wind and some sun and I was Blacker than Chris Rock in CB4. But that just came on account of how much time we spent outside during the summer in the blazing heat with no sunblock on. I don’t even think I found out what sunblock was until I met some white people. I just didn’t ever interact with that shit growing up. You know what we called sunblock back in the day? The pool. We spent hours upon hours at the pool. Cannonballs and can openers, just trying to learn to dive. Remember the first time you tried to do a somersault and busted your ass?

Rashad: [chuckling] New New.
New New: What's so funny?
Rashad: What kind of name is New New, anyway?
New New: I'm New New cause I always rock the new, new shit. Thank you.
Rashad: Well, I heard you and you homegirls don't buy none of that new, new shit.
New New: Whatever.
(Source: ATL)

It's Electric!
Can’t forget about the block party. Whatever you do, do not forget about the block party. Wasn’t nothing like a good old fashioned block party. Kids racing bikes up and down the street. One time we were racing bikes and I got cut off by a friend and leaned into a neighbors car door with my bike. My mother wanted to whip my ass because she had to pay for that. At the block party was where most kids learned how to electric slide. No matter what you were doing, you stopped it and got involved. I remember every guy had a little improvisation when he stepped back doing the electric slide. My best friend’s dad would always cook a pig. A whole pig, and while that sounded disgusting, with the amount of beer and vinegar that was in that pig, kids were a little tipsy but we couldn’t stop eating it all day long.

No swimming trunks, and I still got my draws on, what!
Now looking back at those times, I realize that life was simple. Things have gotten considerably different for all of us. We don’t see each other as often, even though, we’re all still in DC, our lives just take us different ways. Still when I go back to visit my grandmother and I see one of my childhood friends either washing their car, or just hanging on the block, we stop and chill for a second. My boys’ favorite thing to do is to ask me, “Young, why you sound like you from New York now?” I quickly fix it up and go back to my DC accent. As we get ready for summer, take time to think back to your childhood and the memories that you had.

Life is good. God is good.

I’m about to go jump in the pool!

1 comment:

Tunde said...

son the movies at beltway plaza used to pop until ole boy got stabbed up for his EB. we also used to hang tough at landover mall and capital plaza (don't judge me. it was the closest mall to my mom's house).

and don't get me started on super soakers. my mom used to always complain about me wasting water so i just used to hose of my neighbors while they were away at work (i was a bad a$$ kid).

summer time always reminds me of my lawn cutting business. i had like 6 lawns on my street alone. i made guap