Again another winter has turned to spring and now the unofficial start of summer beckons, just days away.I remember well the summers as a kid. Seems like a lifetime ago I spent time with dad, mom and brothers in what became annual traditions.
Funny how time flies and we fly with it, I often wonder if we've really progressed as a people, jamming and cramming so much into our lives and into the lives of our kids, that we rarely have consistency in family events as we did in days gone by.
As an example, I can remember every Memorial Day as I kid, dad was a big one for taking us down to a three day picnic and lots of fun events at the local VFW post in our neighborhood, the Mayfair section of Northeast Philadelphia.
There were barbecues (long before the age of the convenient gas grill) using the often seen as antiquated charcoal grills (my preference even now), and lots of fun games and activities. Mom would join us but this Memorial Day three day affair turned into a guys event with my brothers and dad joining other father's and sons for a great time out.
The weekend began with services and ceremonies remembering our war dead and those who served and still serve us, followed by all kinds of games, music and lots of great food that was cooked and served almost continuously through Memorial Day Monday.
My brothers and I had a blast. We'd play pick up baseball games, quoits, boccie (an Italian game I liken to horseshoes), card games, bingo and lots more. Months before, my brothers and I would mark the weekend and be sure to make no plans, as we'd enjoy a great time with dad at the post for the weekend.
Later, as we got older, dad would enlist us to lend a hand and help out, all the while still having a grand time. Now that time gone by is a memory.
often think fondly as we get to another
Memorial Day. There's an old saying that we can't make all our memories the same for our kids. True enough, but we can certainly create some of our own.
A few years ago, I decided to start an annual event with my kids I affectionately call Dad's 'Golf and Gamble' weekend.
I got the idea from the corporate world. Where I've worked, once in a rare while, an event was designed where we'd invited our clients for an afternoon of great golf at a course near Atlantic City. We followed it up with a lavish dinner and an evening in your choice of casino.
Now, before I go any further, I'm not suggesting to you that I have a date planned with
my sons to go to a casino in Atlantic City.
Rather, the 'golf and gamble' idea had appeal to me for a great bonding weekend with my sons. We start the day with a full breakfast and then arrive for our tee time. This year and last, we've selected our most nearby course, the family friendly Fox Hollow.
My boys, seven and 11, mostly watch. This year my youngest, the most athletic in the family, wants to bring his 'kiddie clubs' and take a few whacks. If he hits further and more accurately than his dad, it wouldn't surprise me.
As both he and his brother get older and start playing, I'm sure I'll be the guy in the group holding them up. Golf is not this writer's spiritual gift. I agree with Mark Twain that golf is a good walk spoiled.
Our weekend was planned for just a few weeks ago, based on scheduling, and we had a blast. In its second year as an 'annual' tradition, we enjoy the time together.
I must say it was relaxing, my sons enjoyed riding along in the cart, getting my club of choice and being on the greens to watch their father pathetically try and play a round. Mostly, we laughed, enjoying each other's company.
The best part of golf in my view, is the time between the swings. The time where my sons and I get to chat, connect and listen to each other, all the while enjoying the day. The great part for me, is if I play poorly, who cares. The boys certainly don't.
Oddly enough I relaxed more watching my sons take a swing or two, and it puts me at ease that even I have a few shots that are borderline decent.
After several hours, we head home and just like dad I, fire up the grill, a real grill, the way grilling was always meant to be, over charcoal. Throw on some steaks and bake some potatoes, and we spend more time conversing over dinner. Then, instead of going to A.C., it's break out the game of monopoly. We play for hours, laugh and have a blast.
By now everyone's tired and we just relax before going to sleep. The great part of the weekend isn't so much what we do, but that we do it... together. Away from all the technology, cell phones, computers, video games. They are all shut down and tucked away, as we enjoy each other's company, and some plain, good old fashioned fun.
Use the long weekend to start a tradition, or renew one that's been a part of your family from years gone by. Spend time with one another and make traditions come alive with fun and interesting items that you can continue doing for years to come.
Have a safe and happy holiday and most important remember the spirit of the holiday by flying our flag and remembering those who served our nation and continue to hold post today. After a round of bad golf, see 'ya around town.
David Di Renzo is a Senior Account Manager for Media Company based in the Lehigh Valley, living in Quakertown.