Welcome to July. Where June went, I can’t say for sure. It was here one minute, I turned around to ascertain whether or not my bikini line was appropriately manicured for the summer season, and POOF…through a cloud of sparkler smoke, July came prancing in to scribble its story in the air.

Of course, in northwest North Dakota, you have to bide your time until the far side of midnight arrives to usher in sufficient darkness to do any sky scribbling with a sparkler. An extended daylight that we are all well aware will begin to pull back its reach soon enough, so we “make hay while the sun shines.”

I recently spent a few days of that here-and-gone June in Lignite “making hay” with family. Cheered on Avie, my niece, at her t-ball game in Bowbells, cheered some more for Otto and Perry, my nephews, at their baseball games in Stanley and Crosby, lent out my relatively strong back and weak mind to help my sister move furnishings of various shapes and weights, and enjoyed hanging out with mom and dad.

After the baseball games in Crosby concluded, Perry asked his mom, to ask me if “Old Man Joshy Washy would come to their house and play?” When an 8-year-old deems you worthy of entry into their world, you proudly accept and enter wholeheartedly, because 8-year-olds become 25-year-olds as fast as June becomes July. So it goes.

As I played baseball with Otto and Perry, I drifted in and out of the present as little things here and there transported me back to when my son wasn’t about to turn 25. It was one of those long summer nights that you wish could hold the daylight a bit longer, a night where you want nothing more than to “steal a couple more minutes from a darn good day”, as Larry Fleet sang in his song Working Man.

Perry stood poised with his bat, awaiting my pitch, and as the light faded, I heard our outfielder, my brother Gabe, say, “End on a good one.” If you’ve spent any time around baseball, that phrase is something you hear quite often during batting practice. “End on a good one”, it focuses your attention a bit more, it draws you in tighter to the present. “End on a good one”…we should all be so fortunate.

I hope your July moves slower than June, and that you have ample opportunities to make enough hay to get you through the winter or any long dark nights you find yourself in.