The Power of Summer

Betsy NAILED it. The power of Summer and the joy of being a “loser.”

Hi Dick,

Are you sure those young girls in the ocean really needed your help? I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if it was all a big scam in order to be rescued by a young, handsome lifeguard. 😉

I too have great childhood summertime memories. For me it was hoola hoops, pogo sticks, climbing trees, digging foxholes, catching lightning bugs, cherry cokes and penny candy. It was ducks and rabbits, hamsters and turtles. It was playing all day with only a “be back by supper” from the folks. It was simple and it was carefree.

Of all the stories of yours I’ve heard, “Losers” is my favorite.  It reminded me of something my Dad said to me 20 years ago when he was dying. Other great childhood memories come from the camping trips we’d take every summer. After we discovered the west, we always headed that way.  Dad took an extra week off without pay so we’d have 3 weeks.

One evening after he discovered he had lung cancer he told me he was sorry he couldn’t afford for us to stay in motels during our summer trips.  I was so surprised he’d say that, kind of like when Wonder Wench asked you if you still loved her. I told him that our camping trips were some of the best times in my life, that the last thing I’d have wanted to do was sit in a hotel and watch TV at night.

Camping took us into the National Forests and Parks, where we had to find our campsite, make sure it was level, and set up camp. It was fun to watch the other families making their camp and to hear the clank of tent pegs as they were hammered into the ground.

We had to find 2 trees that would be good to string a rope to hang our towels and such, and go find firewood. After our tent was up and all the sleeping bags in, we’d have to get supper on the camp stove, and then go find the nearest water pump so we could wash the dishes. At night the camp fires would flicker and you could hear people talking and laughing, and visit with your fellow campers, learning of their adventures, where they came from, where they were going.

My folks and 2 brothers slept alongside each other and I slept the other direction at the front of the tent. One night a bear brushed up against the tent and I told Mom I could feel it’s hot “breathe” on me. 😉

We had an old black ’47 Chevy and we had to keep water on hand all the time to pour in the radiator so it could make it up the mountain passes. We saw so many neat places and camping gave us our love of nature and the outdoors. Driving out, Dad would always tell us that the first one who sees the mountains gets a quarter.

Of course, I was always the last, but my older brothers would always let me think I was the first, and I’d get my quarter. Just yesterday, out of the blue, my brother said to me, “I miss Dad.” I do too, Kit, I do too —- the loser.


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