Monday, August 18, 2014

Sending Off Summer with The Beach Boys, Decongestant, and Beer

The 2014-2015 school year has already started for a lot of children. Today was the first day for the first graders on the school up the hill from my house here on the north side of crumbling Colorado Springs. My son, who attended that same school as a fourth and fifth grader, starts his senior year of high school tomorrow.

I wonder about the memories these kids made. My son is stoked about owning his first smartphone, so that will likely be the big one for him—although he did manage to take the controls of a small aircraft during an orientation flight earlier in the season, and worked to get the tickets to pay for his first rock concert up the road at Red Rocks. He did Civil Air Patrol encampment. We didn’t make any epic cross-country journeys, or go to the beach, but Summer 2014 wasn’t a total wash.

Some summers really are better than others.
“Salty Sally's Treasure” Copyright © 2014 by Matt Dixon
He spent the most amount of time in bed or in front of his computer screen, playing games, coding maps, etc. Which, when you think about it, most of our summers are defined by the One Big Thing we did, like spend one week at the beach (as I did), but the bulk of it was spend lounging around. Not that we didn’t get out and toss the football every now and then. I’m only saying we spent them lazy. At least my son sat in a chair. My preferred position was lying on my bed with a book.

Some summers are busier than others, if not as busy as the one described in one of my all-time favorite songs. When you hear this line, try to sing along. It’s not as easy as it sounds:

          Miniature golf and Hondas in the hills.

There’s a sadness at the core of this tune that speaks to me. On one end of it, I know Brian Wilson didn’t get to do most of the fun things he described in the song; this was fantasy for him. On the other end, for those who do get to have these action-packed summers, “it won’t be long ‘til summertime is through.” Like my son, the boy and girl in the song will graduate school into a world in which there is no summer break. It’s only that time of the year when it’s really hot getting into your car after work.

Enjoy it while it lasts, kids. It really is up to us, now.