How about gardening for your summer self-improvement project?

May 29, 2019

As frameworks for self-improvement regimens go, summer’s not bad.

Do you have anything in mind for a midyear resolution?

You know, something you could accomplish between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Something that could help make your Spokane summer of 2019 memorable.

Sure, you could aim to lose weight and get in better shape. But how about something a tad more imaginative.

Could you use this summer to clean up your language?

Could you set a goal for reading 10 worthwhile books?

Is it too late to start a garden?

Could you go without watching TV until September?

Could you ask all your friends what about you bugs them?

Could you get it together to be at the Gettysburg battlefield during the first three days of July or at least contemplate the beaches of Normandy on the June 6 D-Day anniversary?

Could you not take the bait this time at the family reunion or at least be ready to say “I begged you to get some therapy”?

Could you learn to fly?

Could you teach a scared-of-the-water kid to swim?

Could you reduce your time on Facebook and Twitter by about 100%?

Could you figure out which streets in Spokane you’ve not been on and then rectify that?

My Bart Starr story (rumors of

a touchdown)

When I was 13 and at the zenith of my National Football League fandom, my parents took me to a Detroit Lions game at now disappeared Tiger Stadium. It was October of 1968. The riots had taken place the previous year. And the baseball Tigers had just won the World Series.

But we were at a football game on a peaceful Michigan Sunday and the Lions were playing the Green Bay Packers.

Our seats were high up and directly behind one end zone. The sight lines were such that we could not actually see part of our end of the field, from about the five yard-line line in. That sort of thing could happen back when they played football in old baseball stadiums.

That didn’t present much of an issue as most of the action took place at the other end of the field. Until, that is, the Packers’ fourth quarter drive that tied the score, 14-14.

Bart Starr had not played at all in this game. I guess because of an injury. But with the ball at our end of the field down near the end zone, the famed quarterback came in for one play. One play, mind you. And we could not see it. Not one bit.

Starr threw a pass to Boyd Dowler that resulted in the three-yard touchdown that produced the final score (along with the extra point) in the tie game. (They didn’t play overtime in those days.) Though, of course, we did not see it. A guy near us listening to the game on a transistor radio earphone announced what had happened.

My dad found this rather amusing, in a sardonic way. At my behest, we had driven more than 300 miles to see this game. Bart Starr might have been the only player my father knew by name. And, oh well. I think it more or less confirmed his view of how life treats you if you work hard and play by the rules.

I know from newspapers, magazines and TV that Starr was a great player. But as an eyewitness, well, I couldn’t really say.

Just wondering

Assuming you grew up in the East or Midwest, how skeptical are your Spokane grandchildren when you tell them about fireflies?

And did you ever have a job for which you were better suited than catching night crawlers before you and your grandfather were going fishing the next morning?

End note

They used to be everywhere.

They used to provide the sound of summer.

You know, screen doors that screeched and squeaked every time kids burst out of the house or yanked them open to come back in. About a trillion times a day.

What happened to them? Where did they go?

Perhaps they all have been replaced with energy-efficient storm doors that hardly make a sound.

But maybe all you have to do to remember those old doors is close your eyes and listen.

You can hear how they all sounded rusty. You can hear how some of them wheezed as they closed and then slapped shut with a definitive thwap.

If you were young enough to not be worried about paying the bills, those doors could be the gateway to untold adventures.

There’s a “Calvin and Hobbes” collection titled “The Days are Just Packed.”

And they were.

Maybe children long ago were moving so fast that the summer sound of those old screen doors couldn’t catch up with them.

But those kids are older and moving slower today. I wonder if they can hear those doors now.

Columnist Paul Turner can be reached at srpaulturner@gmail.com.

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