It was a familiar sight this morning. The backpacks. The fresh haircuts. The shiny new shoes. The refusal to listen. Ah, yes, back to school time has arrived.
I love summer with a passion that few people understand. Sure, everyone seems to enjoy the warm weather and cookouts and lazy weekends. But more people seem to look with disdain on the chores of mowing and weeding and watering and would rather wrap themselves in the manufactured cool air comfort of the air conditioning than spend 15 minutes on the back deck in 90 degree temperatures. Not me. I love a good drippy sweat down my back and a breeze through the house, even a hot one. My husband and children, on the other hand, do not. So, on goes the air.
But sooner or later, it has to end. Even if the heat stays, the official “school’s out for summer” season ceases. Today was that day, but we didn’t let it come without the children getting one last night of fun. Enter the Joliet Jackhammers!
The Jackhammers are a non-affiliated minor league team. And man are they not good. If there were 1,000 people at last night’s game, I would be shocked. This year’s schedule was AWFUL, they were out of town most weekends. Despite the fact that they play teams with awesome names (like last night’s rival the Kansas City T-Bones, and the Edmonton Crackercats, former home of Canada’s favorite baseball son, Stubby Clapp), people simple don’t show up. Which is a shame because the stadium is nice and family friendly and there’s BEER there. Even this wasn’t enough to draw a crowd last night:
That’s right, the San Diego Chicken was in Jackhammers country for the last night of summer vacation!
That’s Hank running down to try to get a ball. I tried very hard to take pictures of The Chicken on the field, and every one of them turned out like this, even when Jim took the camera and got closer. Like The Chicken watched that video from The Ring at some point in the past seven days. See:
I must confess, he was funny. Did all the old gags. Held up the eye chart for the ump. Engaged in a water balloon fight with the opposing team. Bit the ump on the head. Good times.
Not to worry, we did get one good shot:
That’s George, terrified out of his mind, getting an autograph with his Poppy. Thanks The Chicken!!
The game also had a few other notable memories, like Hank getting his very first ice cream in a helmet cup:
Just like when you were a kid, he shelled out a full $5 for a helmet ice cream, only to get the Marlins. Is there any other helmet out there? Maybe KC? Maybe? Seriously, why don’t they just stock local ice cream places that serve helmet ice cream with LOCAL teams. Is it really too much money to print up a Jackhammers logo, if nothing else? Freaking Marlins.
Anyway, the night was a fun success, the kids had a blast and everyone came home with autographed photos from The Chicken. Jim, however, declined to bring his to work, stating that hanging it next to his ginormous White Sox World Series photos and Blackhawks Stanley Cup paraphernalia would be “weird.” Whatever.
Now, Hank is at school, and George is apparently sleeping off his sugar hangover:
He’s still wearing last night’s clothes, because that’s just how I roll as a mother.
Speaking of, I would be remiss to not mention my two mother-of-the-year nomination worthy moments from last night.
First — Slug Bug. Upon leaving the game, a silver Beetle drove past. Naturally prompting me to yell out “SLUG BUG SILVER” while delivering a swift punch to Hank’s arm. Right in front of a Joliet cop. “That was a pretty hard hit,” the cop says to me, raising an eyebrow. Not skipping a beat, I snap back, “He knows the rules.” That’s parenting!
Second — To be filed under “I can’t believe I just said that to a child, my own child for that matter!” Out in left field there was a small cage, inside of which were two small goats. Like a mini-petting zoo for the family friendly park. Children were petting the goats, giving them crap to eat, that kind of stuff. When I say children, I mean other people’s children. Not mine. Because that’s nasty. If I wanted my kids to pet farm animals, I’d live on a farm. They are livestock, not kittens. Anyway, two of the customer service type gals opened up the gate and went into the cage, where they pet the animals and showed them off to the children around them.
“Mom,” Hank says. “Mom, those girls are in the cage with the goats!”
Before I could stop the words from coming out of my mouth, I said to Hank, just 8-years-old, “Wow, you usually only see that in Tijuana.”
Let’s hope that’s not the first thing he tells his little friends about during the first day of school. Happy Back-to-School season everyone!