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IN THE SUMMERTIME When the Weather Is Hot …
Now that I have four grown and beautiful daughters of my own and our first grandchild, a girl, of course, I see summer from a different angle. First off, I would never let any of them jump into the back of a pickup and speed down to the beach. Absolutely not, even if it was still legal! But that’s not all that has changed. Kids these days (speaking of, watch a funny song from “Bye Bye Birdie” lamenting kids these days on YouTube.com) have their summer days jammed with sports, are in summer school to get that needed notch on the college application, or are in one camp or another supporting whatever skill they need to push to the next level. There does not seem to be a lot of down time, and when there is down time, it involves an iPhone, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. It seems like an intense way to grow up compared to having the freedom to go where I wanted, when I wanted, with who I wanted, be it the beach, the river, the park, a surfing safari road trip, or a baseball game. And none of that was ever tethered to a “smart”phone! The bottom line is that I am glad I grew up in the '70s and had the opportunity to come of age at a time when a kid really had the freedom to be a kid. I just hope our granddaughter, Maddie, can have that same opportunity to be a kid and have that same kind of fun when she grows up.
So, things have changed a bit, but what I find most amazing is how things have changed regarding what my generation did over the summer compared to what kids do in the summer now. Going into my senior year of high school, I bought a Chevy LUV pickup truck with the $1.55 an hour I was making at Jack in the Box (along with a timely loan from Granddad). Small pickups were the rage back then. The only time I had to worry about responsibilities over the summer was at Jack in the Box, where I worked about 30 hours a week. I fibbed when I applied because I was 15, and you needed to be 16, but it kind of set me up for managing people at an early age, as I became a “shift leader” pretty quickly. I got bumped up to $1.65 per hour, and I got the privilege of making the 2 a.m. money drop at the bank (I never said I was bright). I started hiring all my friends, so they could come work with me. As I said, it gave me my first taste of managing people, which has led to leading and managing our current 25 dedicated and amazing team members here at R&L. Throwing several of my friends in the back of my truck and heading off to the beach at 65 mph was, as the Beach Boys say, “fun, fun, fun!” Of course, I look back on that now as a father, grandfather, and personal injury attorney, and I cringe. Thankfully, riding in the back of a truck was outlawed in the '80s. But I digress, as I was talking about summer.
“In the Summertime” is a song by Mungo Jerry that came out in 1970, and I always think of it around this time of year (check out his original performance of the song on YouTube.com). Growing up, summer was my favorite time of the year, and it still is. I had way more freedom than during the school year, and I could enjoy time with my friends on the baseball field, at the beach, at the river, or even working out and practicing for the upcoming football season. Going to a major league baseball game was also a big part of summer, and I still think that summer truly does not start until you go to your first baseball game of the season, whether it’s the Angels or the Dodgers (The Dodgers are my first love, and the Angels are an acquired taste from my move out to the O.C.). As a kid, I also firmly believed that summer wasn’t in full bloom until my sunburned nose peeled at least three times. Sunscreen, shmunscreen! Bring on the baby oil and no-SPF Bain de Soleil! My peeled, red nose certified that I was a beach bum who maybe hopped off and on a surfboard a few times and really was “too cool for school.” It also contrasted nicely with the white Angels Flight slacks — we really had no jeans back then other than 501s — that were a necessary part of the high school dating ritual in the '70s.
– Chris Russell
RUSSELL & LAZARUS APC 1401 Dove Street | Suite 310 | Newport Beach, CA 92660 Direct: 949-851-0222 Toll Free: 800-268-9228 www.russellandlazarus.com
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