A co-worker took his young son to the eye doctor the other day to make sure the little boy’s new contact lenses were working. Jake kept tearing up his glasses so his parents finally convinced the doctor to fit him for contact lenses, even though he’s only nine years old. The doctor’s exam went something like this:
“Jake, can you read the bottom line of the eye chart for me?”
“How about the line above it?”
“Well, try the line above that one.”
“Now, what’s going on here? I know your eyes aren’t that bad with your new lenses.”
“I don’t read on summer vacation.”
Jake has shut down on reading for the summer. In fact, he’s not going to do anything that remotely smells like school work. I remember what that was like. The minute the last bell rang on the last day of school, the feeling of complete freedom washed over me in ripples that reached my toes. I loved school, but the idea of three months of freedom from the school routine was bliss. Freedom to sleep late. Freedom to set my own schedule. Freedom to choose what I wanted to do at any given time of the day. Freedom to do a-b-s-o-l-u-t-e-l-y-n-o-t-h-i-n-g. What a glorious gift!
The first full day of summer vacation was the best. I slept late, watched a little “Price is Right” and tore up the gravel road on my bicycle. Drinking a bottled Pepsi with lunch instead of milk was the nectar of the Gods, and staying up past 9pm felt downright naughty. Unlike Jake, I loved to read in the summer. We went to the library every week and came home with stacks of books. I poured through Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys and every mystery I could get my hands on. I read every day. I mowed yards. I played games. I chased lightning bugs and picked blackberries. I helped to can tomatoes, make freezer jam and churn homemade ice cream. Even when I had to help out around the house, I still felt that special freedom that comes with long lazy days of sun. Boredom didn’t set in until the last couple of weeks before the start of the next school year.
I would love to have summer vacation now. What would I do? I’d spend more time in the pool. That’s for sure. I would sleep late, ride my bike and drink a soda with lunch. I’d probably can some tomatoes, make a little jelly and eat homemade ice cream. I don’t pick blackberries, anymore because I can’t stand the chiggers, but I would pick some raspberries. I’d probably even catch a few lightning bugs. And I would read. Lots and lots of books. Mysteries.
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