Monday, July 16, 2007

Sum-sum summertime

So, what is this fantasy called "summer vacation"? May brings graduations and cabin-cleaning; and June, graduation open houses and weddings. A traditional week at the lake around the Fourth of July begins that month, then we work-work-work to pay for it. In August, I start to get the back-to-school tummy ache. And then it's over. Whaaa? The summer's nearly over? What the heck happened?

I missed hosting a deck party, didn't get the blue hydrangeas replaced, forgot to make Bloody Marys and barbecued ribs and sit on the dock all day, didn't get one deer fly to bite me. I missed an overnight with my best friend in a tent made of blankets over the clotheslines. I didn't read one trashy novel or get a sunburn. I didn't make ugly necklaces out of snail shells I found on the beach. I didn't play hearts with boys at a picnic table. I didn't catch a fish and I didn't get a leech on my leg. I didn't do anything spontaneous, and dang it, that's what summers are for.

I was thinking about this while watching fireworks the Saturday after the fourth (which in and of itself is a travesty ... one should never have to stray from shooting off fireworks on the night of the fourth and that night alone). When I was a kid, it seemed the fireworks always ended way too soon. In Virginia, the Fire Department paid for about 15 minutes of rockets' red glare, and that was it. We stepped over the goose poop on the shores of Silver Lake, picked up our Army blankets and went home. Now my cabin neighbor uses my Cedar Lake yard as the staging area for better fireworks than we ever had in my hometown, and he satisfies my yearning for an hourlong display. This is an improvement of a memory. But the Cedar Lake fireworks, no matter how splendid, can ever replace the Silver Lake fireworks in my file of summertime lore.

But I digress.

The trouble with our summertime memories is that we usually do one fun summertime thing every summer we're alive. In my case, that's only 52 fun summers, and at least five or six of them I can't remember at all. But in our minds, these memories all collapse into one, so every summer we look forward to reliving the whole lode. I want to have every summer back to visit each year. If that actually happened, I'd be totally exhausted, bug bitten and sunburnt. But I'd have had a blast.

What did you do during your summer vacation?

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