Summers now are not like they used to be.
Once you hit adulthood and have that ‘9 to 5’ you just don’t have the luxury of more than two months of summer vacation like you did as a child. And don’t be fooled, teachers don’t get that same carefree summer as their students; there are always continuing education classes to take, new curriculum to get familiar with, classrooms to prepare …
As we hit the dog days of August and local schools are about to resume, it made me stop and think for a bit and come up with my Top 10 list of summer favorites from my youth.
10. Seemingly endless hikes around the hills and into the woods near my childhood home in upstate New York. You could hike to the creek and get to the woods just on the other side, spend a day in the shade keeping cool under the trees.
9. Baseball games on the side hill by our house. My brother, cousins and I gradually moved from one ‘diamond’ to another, from the front yard to the side hill (you had to run up to first, down to third base) and then we enjoyed a really glorious field with a backstop and imbedded bases that our dad made for us. We called it ‘Singleday Field’ because most of the work to create it came in a single day.
8. The county fair. It was called the Cobleskill Sunshine Fair and almost every year, you could count on one or two days of pouring rain. That’s upstate New York in mid-August. When it’s not humid, it’s raining. And sometimes both at the same time. But spending the day with my best friends at the fair, seeing if any of my 4-H projects won some ribbons, was pure joy at its best.
7. Family camping trips where nothing mattered but getting out on the lake to fish and catching your own dinner.
6. Hitting the swimming pool in town. No cost. One diving board, hours of fun. Swimming until they kicked us out to close the pool at the end of the day.
5. Getting to attend 4-H camp, with the focus on outdoor adventure, arts and crafts, fun and games. It also had the best hot chocolate; I don’t remember anything about the food they fed us, but that hot chocolate lingers in my memory.
4. Going to Vacation Bible School and then, after getting dropped off by our driver, walking the last quarter-mile home up the hill. On really hot (well, New York hot, say 90 degrees) days my brother and I would search out the tar bubbles that had surfaced on the roadway and pop them with our shoes, just for the noise and to feel the stickiness. I am sure my mother hated it when we tracked tar into the house…
3. Helping out in the garden. Never thought this would be something I would remember fondly but being able to get out there and weed and help pick the vegetables that made up part of a meal was really an interesting thing. Except as a kid I had a major aversion to peas. Hated the taste of them cooked. I might be able to handle them raw and, in fact, ate some out of the pods as we picked them but please, don’t make me eat any for dinner.
2. Watermelon. Favorite summer fruit of all time. We only got it during the few months of actual summer and had great seed spitting contests. Plus eating something and not caring that the juice is dripping down your arms just screams being a kid.
1. Staying up as late as you want, reading comic books, a Trixie Belden mystery (my sister and I were hooked on that series of books, not Nancy Drew) simply because you can ... since there’s really nothing you have to get up for in the morning … might as well sleep all day!
There’s my list – hope you can reach back into the memory banks and find a few smiles remembering your own ‘lazy days.’
Marg Jackson is editor of The Escalon Times, The Oakdale Leader and The Riverbank News. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.