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The Lazy, Hazy Days of Summer…

Our journey into the world of the “unplugged” continues. It was a relatively calm weekend, filled with family time. About 4:00 on Saturday evening, my husband started to give me that “what-are-we-doing-the-rest-of-the-day” look. The morning had been filled with errands, and the afternoon was used for naps and a little rest after a 5-mile walk. But now what to do?

As I watched him reaching toward the remote, I saw a post on Facebook about the city’s Italian Festival. Plan established. We piled the kiddos into the car and made the 20-minute trek to the festival location. I think it almost took longer to find a parking space, but we found a great space that was close to the activity. Since I didn’t want to mess with the stroller in a crowd, this was a plus.

We spent the evening eating lots of good food. My husband and I split a roasted chicken lasagna with Alfredo sauce that was fantastic. The kids settled for more traditional fare. The only thing missing was a good Chicago Italian beef sandwich. Dessert was gelato, fresh lemonade, and a funnel cake.

Then I got to learn something about my older daughter. She loves the music of the Rat Pack.

Deana Martin (Dean Martin’s daughter) was the headlining talent that night. She was singing a bunch of her dad’s famous songs while she shared stories about Dean Martin’s variety show. I didn’t even tell my husband this, but it made me very nostalgic. You see, in February my Italian grandfather (and last remaining grandparent) went to heaven. Although his mind was completely alert, his body had been ravaged by a stroke 12 1/2 years before, making it nearly impossible for him to do anything — including speak. At his funeral, one of my family members told the story of taking him to a doctor’s appointment at the VA. The radio was tuned to the music of the 1940s. Grandpa could sing every word perfectly, as if he’d never had the stroke. I can’t help but think that maybe he’s looking down from heaven and smiling because his oldest great-grandchild has an affinity for the same music he loved. My daughter begged us for a copy of the CD. How could I say no?

Had we stuck with our old habits, I might have missed out on that moment. Honestly, it’s very unlikely we would have ventured out on an unseasonably warm evening when we could have lazily plugged in a movie and called it good. Instead, I’m getting to learn about two of the most precious kids in the world.

As frustrating as it might be at times, the effort is worth the reward.


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