Monday, May 24, 2010

May Two-Four At Last

The sun just went down.

The mosquitoes are out. In full force.

And I am sitting on the back patio as the last photons from today's sun wrap around the horizon to die at my feet.

The end of a great four day weekend.

The May Two Four weekend to Canadians.

Kind of like Mexico's Cinco de Mayo.

Only hold the Mayo, and the Cinco.

This holiday was originally created to celebrate the birthday of a long since passed English Queen.

Victoria Day.

But renamed by Canadians not only because it falls on the twenty fourth of May, but also because cases of beer in Canada are sold in carboard boxes that hold twenty four bottles.

A two-four.

And this is always a great weekend for at least one two-four.

Because May Two-Four is our unofficial welcoming of summer.

People go camping.

People open their pools.

People get their yards and gardens set up.

And all these tasks go great with a cold beer.

This weekend we opened the pool. And we worked on tidying up the deck. And we worked on the yards, all the while my lovely wife Darlene's supervisory attention remained totally focused on her gardens .

In the late afternoon, we fired up the barbecue – like every other Canadian household did. You could smell the cookings of steaks and chickens and ribs across the whole neighborhood. And Darlene's hand made homemade hamburger recipe was dusted off and put into production.

The smell of those burgers cooking is as satisfying a smell as a neighbood back yard barbecue can make.

And after the big meal, the neighbors around the corner held their annual fireworks display. The whole neighborhood convened on their front lawn for the big show. Everyone chips in twenty bucks or so for the fireworks and the sparklers for the kids.

What a show it was.

And what a mosquito fest it was to.

The mosquitoes wake up for May Two-Four weekend.

There were huge packages of firework displays lined up along the side of the street – with names like "Crowd Pleaser" and "The Joker" and "Screaming Demons". There were mushrooms of colored explosions high in the sky – and nervous Dads below them trying to set them off without losing an arm or a leg.

A great show.

We feel we know a thing or two here in Windsor about great fireworks displays – as the end of every June – during the Freedom Festival – a shared celebration of Canada's First of July and the American Fourth of July – light up the skies over the Detroit River with the largest annual fireworks display in the world.

The Chinese invented fireworks you know.

And when watching some of these displays – you really appreciate how such displays in a more ancient time would have terrified the common peoples – and the opposing soldiers.

So now I sit beside the newly opened pool, I savor the recognition that summer has started.

My eldest daughter Alannah and I were taking the cover off the pool late yesterday afternoon. Halfway through I said to her:

"What do you like better Alannah, May Two-Four weekend or Christmas?"

Alannah sat for a moment to contemplate her answer. Christmas is a pretty big deal you know.

Especially for a nine year old girl.

Finally she answered, "May Two-Four, Daddy", and she continued her work.

"Why? Christmas lasts so long. And you get presents?", I asked.

"Well", she answered quite profoundly. "On May Two-Four we get summer. And it lasts for four months!"

As true as true can be.

So as I sit here now in the pitch black of night – the sound of leftover fireworks being shot off by neighbors all around me and the lingering smells of barbecue meals cooked earlier today, I am thankful for how lucky we are.

Lucky to live in a land free and safe. Lucky to have a job that can afford my family these simple luxuries.

And thankful that summer has again come to settle over our part of the world.

It's summertime at last – with baseball on the radio, kids splashing in the pool, my lovely wife's hamburgers sizzling on the grill, and my outside family room, our deck – again ready to host the special moments of the times that are about to come.

Summer is here.

It sure beats the hell out of Christmas.

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