Graduations from pre-school thru high school all set off confetti cannons to celebrate the end of another academic year.
Antsy students fidgeting at their desks on the last day of school will burst through the classroom doors as a mass exodus of summer excitement with the final ring of the bell.
From the beginning of June through the middle of August, parents have penciled in their children’s summer break on the pages of their calendars, signing them up and planning in advance for what will become in years down the road, their memories of summer.
Summer fun for me as a child rewinds a simpler life of baseball, camping, strawberry jelly and the county fair; a scrapbook of delightful memories the little girl in me loves to revisit each June.
Watching our grandchildren take their turn at the baseball plate,
Reminds me of those summers back fifty plus years ago with the smell of concession stand hot dogs and popcorn, boys trading baseball cards with a wad of bubble gum in their mouths and my brother riding his bicycle to the Little League field for baseball practice and games.
(my brother sits in front of the baseball bats)
Spring training for Little League announces a brand new season of baseball memories, while a little girl still reminiscences when her brother, a star pitcher back then, leads his team to a first place win two years in a row.
Summer memories are also made roughing it in the squelching heat of a tent or camper, sharing the experience with mosquitoes and raccoons in the back woods or back yard of a camping trip.
In exchange for hotel air conditioning and fine dining, the smell of sizzling bacon and scrambled eggs waft among the trees at breakfast.
Camping trips fill up a childhood album of time spent fishing with dad, swimming with siblings, and making s’mores around a crackling campfire before bed.
Making the highlight reel from my memories of summer take me back to an old fashioned tradition of strawberry picking and watching mother at her Magic Chef stove, preserving summer in a jar for those winter biscuits only months away.
Now, mother watches me from her kitchen stove in heaven, still wearing her apron, still sharing a summer memory as her recipe and an old fashioned tradition is being passed to the next generation.
Summer wouldn’t be complete without those memories of elephant ears, cotton candy, butter drenched ears of corn, cooling down with a bowl of Dippin’ Dots, being squished on the Scrambler while enjoying it all as a fun filled evening at the county fair with your dad.
The county fair reminds you to thank your Aunt for the years she filled up the pages of childhood memories for two generations of nieces and nephews at the fair, giving no thought of the money she spent on tickets, food and game prizes, all because she wanted to make a summer memory with you.
Lastly, after growing up, the sweetest memories of summer is the intentional pursuit of the little things…
Quality time spent with lifelong friends over coffee and breakfast.
Remembering to celebrate the generations and gifts of family around the dinner table.
Letting kids be kids at the beach, kids racing and acting crazy down the Slip ‘n Slide of your own backyard, or kids even spending a spontaneous moment in Papa’s sprinkler while only wearing their underwear.
Or, for those quiet moments spent alone with God in prayer during those early morning walks around the neighborhood track.
From the beginning of June thru the middle of August, the memories of summer are filling up scrapbooks of our children and grandchildren’s childhood.
I don’t know why I’m drawn to these albums during Little League season, when strawberries are ready, or when the county fair has made its way back into town.
Maybe becoming a grandmother, I remember the good ol’ days through the lives of my grandchildren.
Maybe I miss mom more when I see a batch of homemade jelly line the shelves of my kitchen pantry.
Maybe summer reminds me that the little things really are the big things, and to be more intentional about my pursuit of them.
Maybe I’m so thankful to God for my memories of summer, my scrapbook of delightful memories the little girl in me loves to revisit each June.