I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again. What this country needs is a really good five-cent ice cream cone. My apologies to Thomas Marshall, the U.S. vice president under Woodrow Wilson, who was pining for a good cheap cigar one day after presiding over a grueling session of the Senate, and he may have preceded it with a “pshaw,” but as the summer heat descends upon us again, I find those words popping into my brain more often than not.

But yes, in the dark ages of my teenage years, there was such a thing as a nickel cone. It was at the DQ down the street from where I lived, the same place I got my foot-long chili dog fix for 50 cents. That was back when I had a part-time job at the local bowling alley and the minimum wage was $1.25 an hour. Back when the local Esso station sold gas for 30 cents a gallon (unless there was a “gas” war that sometimes got the price down to a quarter). Back when I would spend hours at the library flipping through the card catalog; what the young’uns call prehistoric Googling. When I think about it, I learned more there than I did at school, like for instance there, they’re and their. And you’re, yours and y’alls.

How does one pronounce “pshaw” anyway? Is the “p” silent? Or do you say, “pis-shaw?”

Never mind.

One thing about summer and hot weather…kids. Kids playing in the park, kids swimming at the pool, kids bicycling on the sidewalk, kids here, kids there, kids everywh… well, you get it.

Maybe we all long for those old times now and again, back when people found ways to amuse themselves without having to plug in something or charge something up. And even knew how to make music on their own, whether with a piano, harmonica or just whistling. As a matter of fact, I caught myself whistling while working the other day. It was…I dunno…a song playing on the radio or just a little tune that made no sense.

It just occurred to me that you hardly hear anyone whistling a song these days.

Or for that matter, yodeling. I mean, who covers Slim Whitman’s Indian Love Call these days? Thankfully, nobody, unless Martians attack. But I’d like to think somewhere out there here in the 21st century, at least one cowpuncher can yodel Eddy Arnold’s Cattle Call.

Anyhow, I’m thinking we need more whistling in the world, like hearing somebody walking down the street whistling the “Colonel Bogey March” from “The Bridge on the River Kwai” – an all-time favorite Alec Guinness movie – or whistling the Andy Griffith theme while fishing down at Escondida Lake.

Where was I? Oh yes, I was talking about enjoying seeing those kids playing in Magdalena.

To be honest, I’d never appreciated kids until I became a father, and with Father’s Day coming up in a couple of weeks, I was pondering on being a father…of a father.

It’s when you now really understand what your parents meant when they said, “You understand when you’re older.”

However, if you’re not sure you’ve grown up, here’s what I found out:

  • Eventually, you will reach a point when you stop lying about your age and start bragging about it.
  • The older you get, the fewer things seem worth waiting in line for.
  • When you are dissatisfied and would like to go back to your youth, think of homework and algebra.
  • Once you’re over the hill, it’s all downhill on the other side.
  • One of the many things no one tells you about aging is that it’s such a nice change from being young.
  • You must wait until evening to see how splendid the day has been.
  • Being young is beautiful, but being old is comfortable and relaxed.
  • If you don’t learn to laugh at trouble, you won’t have anything to laugh at when you’re old.
  • You say more appropriate things than inappropriate things.

Oh, and one more.

  • From Henny Youngman: A man has reached middle age when he is warned to slow down by his doctor instead of the police.

You also know you’re grown up when you become painfully aware of the so-called generation gap. And heaven forbid, you don’t want to come across as an old fuddy-duddy. Of course, with me just saying that makes me one because that term’s pretty much gone the way of other terms like nifty, neat-o, heavy and calling girls “chicks” and guys “cats.” I found out you’re even pegged as out-of-touch if you say to someone you are “web surfing.” Same goes for “calling long distance.” And here’s a blast from the past: the Dear John letter. I suppose now it would a Dear John text. Or Instagram. Or a tweet.

My brain hurts.