The True Signs of Spring
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Some people think that it’s not really spring until the buds come out on the trees. Others think that spring has officially arrived when the ice cream shops reopen for the season –- or when it’s warm enough to go for long walks outside without a coat and hat (and without getting frostbite). But recently, I’ve discovered the true signs of spring.

I live in a small Midwestern town –- one where “downtown” consists of a single block of diners, five-and-dimes, and an old-fashioned bakery. I live down the street from Ozzie and Harriet -– and right around the corner from Ward and June and the boys. I live in Pleasantville. So if any town can be a true sign of the way life really is, it’s got to be my town, right?

Over the last week, we’ve had our first spring-like weather, and I’ve taken the time to contemplate the telltale signs of spring by studying the way things work in my neighborhood.

The first major difference I’ve noticed –- now that it’s spring and all –- is the overabundance of baby carriages. During the day –- between the hours of 7 AM and 7 PM –- it’s virtually impossible to look out the window of my house without seeing an average of three baby carriages. Young mothers are showing up on the sidewalks like worms after a rainstorm. They’re dressed up in their most adorable June Cleaver outfits and pushing their adorable children (who are dressed in adorable outfits without baby food stains) in adorable baby carriages. Sometimes, for added effect, they bring the dog along, too.

It’s a parade of the perfect moms, and everyone’s invited –- no, expected -– to watch with envy. And though it’s never made my biological clock let out as much as a single tick, I suddenly feel the need to dig out my Cabbage Patch dolls, dress them up in their cutest clothes, and take them for a walk around the block.

The second major difference, however, isn’t quite as cute. The other day, I stepped outside my house, overjoyed by the appearance of the sun, which has been hidden behind the clouds for the last five months. Instantly, my step lightened. I wanted to sing along with the happy tune of the little birds that flitted above my head. I got into my car with a smile on my face, and there, staring at me from its position in the center of my windshield, was a big white splotch that one of the cheerful little birds had left behind –- just to remind me that it was spring. I tried to smile, delighted that winter was over, but instead I cringed and prayed for rain –- so I wouldn’t have to fork out the cash to get the car washed.

So take a look around your neighborhood. Are the June Cleaver baby-carriage moms out in full force? Is there bird poop on your windshield? Yes? Then celebrate with me! Spring has come to your town, too! Get dressed up in your Sunday best, and take your baby –- or your favorite doll –- for a walk! (Just watch out for the birds...)

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