It’s a silent, sunny, Sunday afternoon and as Paul Simon would say, “I have no deeds to do, no promises to keep.”
Looks like a chance to position my lounge chair out in the sun and catch some rays.
I pull on some shorts and lather sunscreen on my face, neck and shoulders and head for the deck.
The smell of sunscreen on a hot day transports me back to Penticton on those endless summer days when we would leave Langley on a Friday afternoon.
Days and nights would blend together. The girls would look like they had walked out of Coppertone ads and they smelled like coconut or some other exotic scent.
We would drive home Sunday, tired, blistered and burned.
The afternoon sun is hot on my skin and I remember family picnics, shirtless and shoeless where baseballs and footballs filled the air and we played hard all afternoon, oblivious to the baking our bodies were taking.
That’s the freedom I want relive today, just lying in the sun, oblivious to time, no responsibilities nowhere to be.
Reclaiming those convertible days when you spent the night in a sleeping bag in the back seat and if a girl asked you to put lotion on her back that was the highlight of your weekend.
“Looking for fun and feeling groovy.”
With my lounger reclined and my book and ice tea strategically located, I collapse back and close my eyes.
The sun begins its magic and before long the knot fades from my shoulder and my wonky knees seem to be healing as I lie there.
This is great.
It lasts for five minutes.
I think the tops of ears are burning and my lips feel like they are cracking. I open my eyes and go blind for a second it’s so bright.
Some kind of a bug is stuck in the sunscreen on my cheek and sweat is rolling down from my forehead and underarms.
I pull my chair into the shade, re-position my drink and pick up my book.
Maybe they’re right, maybe it is hotter than it used to be.
Before I start reading, I see another vision of that Penticton beach.
If I look past the bronze girls I see some older men in straw hats, shirts and shorts and socks and sandals sitting under umbrellas.
If I take a second look at that family picnic and look past the flying Frisbees I see aunts and uncles and grandmas and grandpas sitting in lawn chairs in the shade of the fir trees.
How come I never noticed them there before?
It’s tough when your mind wants you to run across the hot sand and dive into the cool lake but reality is telling you to limp over and put your lawn chair in the shade.
As I start to read, I start to nod off and a long ago voice says, “Quiet, let grandpa have a nap.”
I refuse to be that grandpa and I open my eyes wide and take a long, cold drink.
When I wake with the book on my chest, my cellphone says I slept for about 20 minutes.
Sometimes when you are in a garden centre you will see a sign beside a plant that says, “For best results, plant in a spot with equal sun and shade.”
I have to find that spot on my deck.
At least that’s what McGregor says.