Saturday, June 25, 2011

...And the Livin's Easy...

One of my husband's legacies for our kids is his love of the band Sublime, the 90s reggae/ska/punk/rock band from Long Beach.  My girls know most of the words to most of their songs and last summer, as a family, we deciphered a lyric from "Garden Grove" that had eluded us ("I got the deuce-deuce in the trunk of my car"... which I had been singing as "Blue's Clues" and Marlowe thought was "doo-doo"... both of which are G-rated compared to Bradley Nowell's .22).  There is a sound in their music that is so uniquely Southern Californian, simultaneously laid-back and in-your-face, like a tatted-up Chicano offering you a coolie from the chest while telling you about his uncle who's doing time.  You're a little scared, but you feel lulled into staying a while.  

Although each of their songs sounds like summer to me, the big daddy of them all is "Doin' Time," which riffs off the old Gershwin son "Summertime" from "Porgy and Bess." When I hear the first strains of it, I can see ice cream trucks rolling through hazy San Gabriel Valley neighborhoods, kids running barefoot through crabgrass, heat rising like a mirage from the asphalt streets. 

Summertime... and the livin's easy...

I've thought of this song over and over since my kids got out of school on the 16th.  As they've shed their school schedules and the weather has warmed up, a lovely hum has taken over our lives.  The clock has slowed down and the mileage on my car has only increased by 8 miles over the past four days.  The lingering hours of daylight have given way to spontaneous pool parties and endless trays of cut-up fruit or popsicles in lieu of real meals. Their friend from down the street has become a 4th sister, and the pack of girls zigzags up and down the hill, from her plum-treed lawn to our pool and back again.  My writing time, which I had thought I'd have to give up by virtue of my kids' very presence in the house, has actually increased.  While they're in the pool, I sit at my table by the window and type, half-listening to their mermaid games and splashes, soaking up the summer sun by osmosis.  Today was their first lemonade stand and I'm sure it will become a neighborhood staple, with its icy sweet ade and dog biscuits. 

Last night, as Raf and I sat in the dusky evening light, I said, "It's been such a good summer."

"It's only been a week," he said, cautioning me that the kids could get bored any minute and the lull of having no real plans could become a living hell with three stir-crazy kids.

And I know that, but let's just take it slow for now.  We've got time.


  1. I am so pleased to know that I'm not the only one who's given up making actual meals. You inspire me. Wait until I tell that kids that popsicles can legitimately be called "dinner" -- Summer Rules!

  2. Lovely post, Erin. There's nothing like a California summer.