Sunday, August 24, 2008

Four square

It was one of those summer evenings. It's late August, we've all faced the fact that summer is mortal. The consistent green of roadsides and fields has lately been giving way, leaf by leaf, to bronze and rust. The night times have a chill, and we all need our long-sleeved shirts once the sun goes down. This is precious time. Soon it will cede to winter. So, get down. Whoop it up. Party like there's no tomorrow, because tomorrow there could be snow.

Ah, life in upstate New York. We're simple people. All we need, really, is one of those downy summer twilights, plenty to eat and drink, a grassy backyard, and a bunch of friends. And a big green rubber ball, for the playing of Four Square.

Playing Four Square, even with this easygoing bunch, always makes me a little jumpy. I learned to play Four Square at 4-H camp, the summer I was nine. We'd play in the steel-roofed Rec Hall. The line was forty kids long. It took an hour to make it to the front of the line. And once I did, the mean-faced straw-haired jerk camped out in the server's square would immediately fire the ball over into my box at forty mph, a single aggressive serve I'd be unable to volley back. And that would end my turn, and I'd stand in line for another hour. How I ever learned to play is a mystery. So every time, I still expect to see that kid, his twelve-year-old-frame as intimidating to me then as the Hulk.

I guess it doesn't help that I've got a seriously competitive streak. Two beers, and two successful rounds of Four Square, and I morph into this freak, becoming a rules Nazi, (Nick, OVERHAND!) and charging across the square in mock rage when someone gets me out. I've probably just got repressed Four Square angst from all those hours in line. Maybe I should see someone about that?

It was great to see everyone last night. As we all move forward with our lives, buying houses, changing jobs, taking classes, having kids, it's important to catch up on laughter, understanding, dreams. And four square.

Photo credit: Nick Corcoran


Mrs. Danby said...

I love you and your delicious pickles. You are a four-square pro, my friend. And you, competitive, noooooooooo. Uh-uh. No way, no how.

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