The Fifty Cent Tour

Friday, July 10, 2009

Meaningful Nothingness

When I was a kid there was nothing more joyous than the last day of school

That last minute seemed like an eternity!
I swear the clock moved backward. 
Then finally… FREEDOM!

No more pencils, no more books!

Of course there was the required summer reading to do, but wasn't the last three hours of summer vacation enough time to read Stuart Little?

The summer spread out in front of me like a big picnic blanket

A little of this a little of that

Nothing to do but think about what I was going to do....

Noteworthy achievements like:

Digging the worlds biggest hole

Seeing how many circus peanuts I could fit into my mouth

Testing the duration of a thick piece of chalk by starting a line in my driveway and ending who knows where

Seeing if it were at all possible to do a 360 on my swing set

Making a tree house out of odds and ends around the yard

Finding out if I could somehow contact my dead pets from the great beyond

Making the world's longest dandelion chain

Ditto the gum wrapper chain

Unraveling a baseball to see what was in the middle

Listening to every record I owned at every rpm.

My summers were filled with endless quests for meaningful nothingness.

Today I am sitting on my porch and there is not a kid in sight.
No whooping and hollering. 
No skateboards or bikes.
No scooters or trikes

The quest for the world's biggest hole has been "ditched" to make way for the quest for the world's greenest lawn

Clotheslines that used to serve as the world's biggest slingshots are frowned upon or downright banned in some neighborhoods

That's a shame

I feel like picking up a piece of chalk
And starting at the end of my driveway
Making a line.

Not caring about:
What the neighbors think
My back
How much lead may be in the chalk
What my ass looks like stooped over 

I will not care that
this is not a team building exercise
It that it will not make me a well rounded individual

Not going to care 
a whit that it won't help
my daughter
get into the college of her choice

Couldn't care less
that is not an activity approved
by professionals within the community

Not gonna give a hoot that
it's not something that's going to look good on my resume

I am on an endless quest for 
meaningful nothingness

Hoping to find those perfect
summers of my youth 
that have somehow gone missing

Get out your piece of chalk
Join me!



  1. Okay, I'm an IE user. Let's see if this works.

    One of my favorite childhood pastimes was digging a small tunnel between our yard and the neighbors' and then leaving notes/gifts in it for each other. (Until the day I reached in and came out with a slug. Ewwww!)

  2. Great job capturing the thoughts of every child (from our day).

    I was forever riding my bicycle. I'd ride out of the driveway first thing, with no destination in mind. Somehow I'd manage to be gone til dinner time anyway. Sometimes I think I just rode in circles while I waited for the next adventure to present itself.

  3. oh yes, I remember it well. Reading in the summertime was a joy for me, as a child, along with sleeping in late and playing with my friends. At night, I would take my bath, put my jammies on, and play with my paper dolls before going to bed.

  4. What happened? We used to leave the house and not be back til dinner, maybe come in for a snack. Yeah, sometimes we got hurt but then we learned to be more careful. Our society is so fearful now, kids can't even jump on their bike without helmets and pads, if they are even allowed to ride without a parent in tow. That's just wrong. I wonder what kind of adults the children of today will be. Soft fearful marshmallows?

  5. Ahhh summer. We're going to the circus today! I'll be sure to try and see how many peanuts we can fit in our mouths!
    Great writing, as always!

  6. I am TOTALLY with you! Grownups ruin all the fun. I loved summers off school!

    p.s. Thanks for stopping by the BF's blog! I will make sure the comment problem is fixed :).

  7. Great post! Ah, childhood.

    I have some chalk in my garage. I can't promise I won't worry about my backside stopping traffic, but I will enjoy the tire screeches. ;)

  8. Thank you. As always. Your post has cheered me so much, and yes. am going to look for some chalk, and then go and find a swing.

  9. Rene, wow, incredble psot. i love this.

    "Testing the duration of a thick piece of chalk by starting a line in my driveway and ending who knows where."
    --I had totally forgotten about that one childlike wonder in itself. so simple, serene and captivating in itself. YES, I too want to get out my chalk, a stick and do that myself. How wonderfully liberating testing the duration of a thick piece of chalk by starting a line in my driveway and ending who knows where.

    This posts really speaks exactly to me today, and is a perfect compliment to what I happened to jsut post in fact. :)

  10. It was a different time then, my toys were a bat, a ball, a glove, a football, a park swing, and my friends were my team and TV was something to do when it rained, and Mom calling you for dinner was just an interrupting break in the fun! It was a great time to be a kid!

  11. Love this, because kids don't GET to be kids any more--too structured, too many lessons, too much supervision ... Isn't childhood supposed to be about having fun? At least during summer vacation? In theory, anyway.

  12. Those meaningless nothings are the most important things..we should all the a piece of chalk to our roads!

  13. I am glad you shared this poem today, Rene. I really enjoyed it. Ah, I remember the summers of my youth as well. Loved that last day of school & the first day afterwards when the endless summer stretched ahead. And, yes, I think we all must have had our summer dreams & our summer goals. Loved riding my bike freely, playing kick the can, playing outside after dark. And indeed so sad that in some areas one can't hang wash on lines anymore. Nothing coming from the dryer can approach the smell of fresh line-dried sheets or blouses. Sigh. I agree that sometimes we adults should spend some time with 'meaningful nothingness' just as we did when we were kids on those seemingly endless summer days!

  14. Ah the joyous time of childhood.. something which no one can ever forget :D

  15. Love this... with you- piece of chalk ready!!

  16. :) the good old school days.................................miss them

  17. Ah, the quest for meaningful nothingness. You have evoked nostalgia in my heart for my own childhood pursuit of similar meaningful nothingness!

  18. Oh I love the thought of meaningful nothingness.. let's get that chalk and paint the roads.

  19. Oh. How. I. Love. This. Ab-so-freaking-lute-ly!!!!!!!!! You took me back to happy summers when I would ride my bike far out into the country, park it beside a hill, climb the hell, drink from a trough, find some cows, sing to them and have them follow me back down the hill, singing, to my bike........sigh. THOSE were fun days!

  20. This is like a throwback. My favorite is the first day of school though.

    But summer - as a kid we are allowed to be free. Time to explore, learn something outside of the clasrooms. Ah, thanks for reminding me my childhood years

  21. Yes those days are coming up again. How I wish I could stay home and play.


Please drop a penny in a poet's hat :