It's my birthday this week. When I was a kid, having a summer birthday had its pros and cons. I was less likely to have a birthday party with classmates, but more likely to get homemade ice cream with the neighbor kids. I never got to bring treats to school or listen to my name being announced over the school PA system as "today's birthday girl," but I was more likely to receive (and get to enjoy) a present made for outdoors. On different birthdays I received a tire swing, a skateboard, a Hula-Hoop and a Slip'N Slide -- all perfect for hot summer days. But one year I received the ultimate birthday gift for a 10-year-old girl in the early 1970s: a metallic purple-and-white banana-seat bicycle with high-rise handlebars and streamers. It even had a white basket with plastic flowers on the front and a sissy bar on the back!
After giving much thought to naming our new outboard runabout, my family settled on Lollipop, which we had lettered on both sides of the bow. I was 10, and I had a younger brother and sister, all of us close in age. The only boating experience our family had had before then was renting rowboats while vacationing summers in New England, which was a day-long drive from home.