I’m about halfway through the June column I wanted to post — all about best pal EJ, the newlywed; an adaptation of my toast for his rehearsal dinner. But it’s not ready to go, and, damn, I only have a few hours left before I break my post-per-month streak.
I could list several good reasons for the tardiness of this month’s column. But they sound more like excuses (travel, work stuff, travel, moving, travel).
But it is summer in Denver, and I’m sitting outside at a coffee shop just down the block from our awesome new modern brownstone. The wind has picked up a bit, and a gnat just flew under my eyelid (I’m sure I got it out, but it still feels like something’s stuck under there), but, damn, I love being in linen and flip-flops, breathing in summer scents of cut grass and hot sidewalk and a pending storm.
So, in honor of summer, and to save myself some stress, here are excerpts from a few favorite columns about the season.
I haven't seen my girl since the morning her mom came to pick her up 10 days ago. It was early on a Friday. I was dressed and ready for work, cuddling with Simone in my bed, where she'd spent the night next to me. I'd taken off work the day before to be with her, and it had been a very special time for the two of us. But that night, after we'd closed the last book of the day, and were snuggled up on her single bed and staring at the ceiling, she whispered, "I'll miss you, Daddy." So I asked her if she wanted to sleep in my room, and carried her there.
from Absence, July 2004
I mean, we’re already in that weird nether area where she’s still unwilling to use a public women’s room by herself, but where too much time in the men’s room makes everyone uncomfortable. When it comes down to it, I drag her quickly past the urinals to the cleanest stall we can find, and hope for the best.
So Simone was immersed in an impressive array of girl energy. My sisters, my mother, and my cousins are brilliant and beautiful women, and fiercely protective of me. It’s humbling and wonderful. Their manner with Simone is no less powerful, but there’s also this ineffable transmission of energy that seems to be uniquely feminine.
There’s so much about my father that I channel when I’m with Simone—feeding her interests by providing her with the books and experiences she craves, dozing next to her at bedtime, chasing her and her friends on the playground or splashing with her in the pool, rough-housing with her and squishing her and squeezing her close, introducing her to new foods by insisting she taste everything, sharing the music I love, teaching her to be aware of her surroundings and thoughtful about the world around her, encouraging her to ask questions. She’s so lucky I learned so much from her grandfather!
We rolled up the windows as the squall finally coalesced, clouds, laden, moving quickly over the city, the sudden downpour drumming its tattoo on the roof the car. I had to shout above the rain’s timpani to explain that I wouldn’t spend time with a woman who didn’t understand Simone’s role in my life, and that, though Simone didn’t get to decide who I dated, it was unlikely I’d get serious with someone who wouldn’t fit with us. She seemed reassured, or at least mollified.
It’s not like I’d abandoned all sense when it came to this girl—she was gorgeous, for sure. But she’d had more red flags than a Tiananmen Square parade. Our few dates had been incredibly fun, and though I maintained an internal sense of perspective, I couldn’t help wonder about the possibilities. In other words, she was totally wrong for me, and I liked her all the more for it.
from Replay, July 2010
I’d been wanting to try the place in the weeks since it had opened, but due to the vagaries of logistics, scheduling, and commitments, this was my first foray. We wiped our soggy feet at the door and hightailed it upstairs to the bar, settling into a cozy booth for two. The view was cause for exclamation; we watched through gigantic, open picture windows as the Denver skyline was slowly overtaken by the squall that we’d just barely avoided. The lights in the many windows of the skyscrapers had just begun to glow as the city disappeared behind a curtain of rain, glass-vibrating timpani thunder shaking the room a mere breath after flashes of spectacular cloud-to-cloud lighting.
from Local, July 2011
I’m not alone with my halcyon memories of summer vacation — days of leaving the house on my bike in mid-morning, tooling around the neighborhood with my pals, making mini dams with mud and sticks in a little creek, eating the smushed sandwich I’d packed for myself and washing it down with a Slurpee, whooping gleefully through the inevitable mid-afternoon thunderstorms plunking heavy rain down on my friends and me, and returning home, sun-dried and dusty, just as my father was pulling the old station wagon into the garage.
from Solstice, July 2012
Through the summer months, we spent more and more time together. One weekend morning, as we walked to a street festival where I was sure to run into a ton of people I knew, she took my hand in hers. I was immediately uncomfortable, but forced myself to walk a bit before using the need to push the “walk” button at a traffic crossing as an excuse to unlatch. We made our rounds through the festival together, with me introducing her to friends along the way, only touching hands sporadically.
from One Child, July 2012