The many empty hours of summer offered countless possibilities for fun and adventure. Spending time outdoors with no deadlines meant imagination had free rein. Jumping through the sprinkler served us well as we had no pool anywhere near.
We did keep some schedules: sports, music and church. But many days involved 3 meals a day and TV at night, leaving hours of wide open space in our days.
The Sounds of Science
One year I decided to expose my sons to science fun. I got la chemistry set and a rock polisher. I was sure the boys would enjoy making smooth rocks like those found in nature.
Soon we all developed a clear understanding of insomnia when we spent several nights being forced to listen to the ear-splitting gritty grinding sounds of the polisher going round and round 24/7, infiltrating any remote possibility of sleep or even daytime calmness!
After a few days we finally moved it to the utility room, shutting doors to tone it down. The rocks were an adventure but we probably didn’t learn what I was hoping for. We did learn the value of quiet sleep!
However, when we later spent time tubing on the Frio River, we saw how beautiful the polished rocks could be in nature. They were much more fun in the river bed than inside the house.
Who knew playing down the street could be deadly?
One day a son came home unnaturally soon from playing with a friend. When I queried him as to why, he said he didn’t really want to be around the swinging ax. My mother gene clicked on and I checked in with the ax swinger’s mom.
She said she knew he shouldn’t be doing that but as a mother she didn’t know how to stop it. I replied that from my teaching experience she could lock the ax in the car’s trunk and talk with her son. She seemed to have no stomach for saying no to him, so we found other ways to have summer fun.
My older son had a chance to babysit two neighbor boys. I was glad to be supportive since I felt I was a forward looking mother of the 80’s.
A day or two later I had second thoughts when their mother and I had a chat.
Yup, it was good to have a guy babysit. But, teaching the kids how to spit didn’t go over too well with their mother. Their father couldn’t help but smirk a bit. In the interest of honesty, it must be said the boys relished their new found skill!
The Cat House
My older son had a great love for working with wood. One summer he decided to build a dog house. Good idea…
He labored long and hard to get it just right. Then he painted it and came in for lunch. It hit him that all buildings need a table so he took some red paint from the shed and clearly printed DOG HOUSE on the front. It was a work of art.
The next day he began to realize our cat wasn’t being treated fairly. So he built Tigger Wigger a house. At lunch that day he told us how it was coming along. His visiting grandma was as proud as I was of his hard work.
I turned red as I explained the meaning of a “cat house.” His grandma chimed in saying to me, “I can’t believe your mind is in the gutter. There’s no such thing!”
Well, kids tend to believe their grandparents, and we were the only people in our neighborhood with our very own red light district in our backyard:-)
Then he dropped the bomb: “I think I have enough red paint to put cat house on the front.” I almost fell out of my chair, and started trying to talk him out of it, to his grandmother’s astonishment.
There is no doubt that summertime offered great opportunities for family adventures and making memories. I am grateful for those moments and will cherish them always.
Copyright 2018 by Hildra Tague. Obtain permission for use online or in print.