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Today is September 20, 2018

Grin 'n' Bare It

Where has the summer gone?

Kay Grafe
Kay Grafe

About this time last year Mr. Roy walked into the kitchen as I was placing my last batch of sweet pickles into jars, and said, “Well, summer is finally over and football season is right around the corner. I’ve been looking forward to this since last January.”

This was about the cruelest thing he could have said. It was right up there with “The stock market just crashed” or “I hate to tell you, but I wrecked your new car.” I have always treasured my summers and hated to see them end.   

“Why did you make a statement like that?” I asked, knowing what his answer would be.

He cleared his throat. “I passed by the elementary school this morning and school was in session.

“Why do you always hate to see every summer end?” he asked.

I answered and tightened my shoulders. “Look, we have this same discussion every year and you know my answer: It goes back to when I taught school and my vacation had come to an end. I’m beginning to believe you are trying to start an argument. There’s no new comeback; you’ve backed me in a corner, again. One day, I will have something in my repertoire that will knock you off your feet.”

He raised his eyebrows, picked up the daily paper and turned to the sports page.

I have told you before, my dear my readers, that I grew up an only child. My mother worked and most of the time my daddy was not home. During the summers I stayed with my grandparents, Mother’s parents. I called her Big Mama and him Daddy Tom.   

There were always cousins coming to visit, and my summers were fun filled, especially with a swimming pool next door.

Later, when my mother remarried and we moved to Lucedale, there was a large swimming pool a couple of miles from our house. The pool/lake  wasn't like the concrete pool in Forest next to my grandparents house. Actually, it was a swimming area that was created by damming up a creek.

The beautiful lake was huge compared to the pool next to my Big Mama and Daddy Tom’s house. It had a pier in the center and a tall diving board on the west bank. My mother worked, so she would either take me and several friends out to “Inland Beach,” or one of my friends’ mother would take her turn.   

Those preteen and later teenage summers were wonderful and lasted longer since a school year was only eight months long in Lucedale.

A few years after Mr. Roy and I were married, I started back to college and again looked forward to my summers. After graduation I was offered a job at the high school teaching my major, history. You guessed it, again I was in a situation where I couldn’t wait for summer to arrive and hated to see it end—though I enjoyed teaching and loved my students. Don’t we all like vacations?

Soon we had a pool installed in our backyard and this made summers even better for our daughters and me. Later we built a summer home on Dauphin Island, Ala., and I spent most of my summers at the beach.  

Today I have been retired from my teaching job about 15 years, and I still look forward to my summers. But I have to admit it’s not the same feeling it used to be.

A couple weeks ago when I noticed all of the cars at the elementary school three miles from our house, I knew a new school year had begun. I also knew my partner would soon make his yearly statement, “Well, summer is finally over.”

Sure enough, later that afternoon he walked into our office area where I was writing on my computer and said those exact words. I didn’t even look up from my work, and replied, “Good, I’m ready for football season.”

After he regained his senses, he said, “What did you say? I think I misunderstood you.”

I grinned and said, “I have decided that I love all the seasons, months, weeks and days. Every day is a gift from God, and I intend to enjoy every one of them. I also suggest that you quit wishing for time to pass so that football season is here, and enjoy every day.”

In fact, that’s good advice for my readers and everyone. I’ll let you know next month if Mr. Roy has recovered from the shock.

Kay Grafe is the author of “Oh My Gosh, Virginia.” To order, send name, address, phone number and $16.95, plus $3.50 S&H to Kay Grafe, 2142 Fig Farm Road, Lucedale, MS 39452.

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