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Musings on Summer Vacation

Updated: Jan 1, 2021

I miss summer vacation.

Photo by Rene Bernal on Unsplash

Long nights playing video games with cousins, or binge-watching Heroes, Friends, Lord of the Rings until our eyes were dry and throbbing. Playing, swimming, eating throughout the day, forgetting to bathe until we raised our hands to catch a ball and caught a whiff of ourselves. Baking all sorts of goodies, eating jerk pork at odd hours of the night or morning. Staying up late, sleeping in late, reading books when the constant playful company got tiring. Beach days that weren’t on a weekend, trying to outdo each other with corny stories, breaking things while playing and hiding the evidence. Jumping on the trampoline until our brains forgot how to stay steady. Going to the movies, seeing a double feature, playing dandy-shandy in the dark.

Photo by Ross Parmly on Unsplash

Waking up to catch a 7 A.M flight, sleeping on the plane, renting a bus and watching Daddy strategically pack our luggage in such a way that we had access to all the seats and could sleep on the most comfortable suitcases. Eating stewed peas and curried chicken at our Aunt’s house in West Palm Beach and then starting our journey to our timeshare in Orlando. Eating fried fish and sleeping on the red carpet in Jacksonville. Checking in at our time share and buying groceries at Publix.

Two weeks of brutal sunlight only tempered by long days in the pool or cooling off in the air-conditioned house. Bike rides, lots of food, especially the jumbo hot dogs with chili and croissant buns. Shopping trips that meant hurting feet, short tempers and the glee of getting shiny new things. Trips to theme parks where we either exulted in the roller coasters or pretended to exult, to save face. Long lines filled with chatter, hoping that we were tall enough to go on the rides. Enjoying all the spectacular performances of the ever-smiling performers.

Photo by Joshua Hibbert on Unsplash

Driving some more to either our sister in Annapolis at the Naval Academy or to our sister in Colorado at the Air Force Academy. Long drives with changing but monotonous landscapes. Sleeping like piled puppies on each seat. Calling and trading cars that we saw zipping passed or loitering on the road. Singing soundtracks from well-loved Disney movies. Eating cheese and deli meat sandwiches. Helping to keep Daddy awake while he drove by plying him with ice chips and nudging him when he started drifting off. Pit stops, breakfast stops at Denny’s, dinner stops at Golden Corral. Arriving at the military base and enjoying parades, more food, more parties and exploratory walks.

Driving or flying back home - our skin five shades darker, tired, achy but so very happy with all that had occurred.

Photo by Paul Gilmore on Unsplash

I’ve been musing on these things, and I wonder: what do I have to look forward to now that I’m older and I work all summer long? Not having to wake up before dawn to drop my brother off at school, less traffic on the road, the sun rising earlier and setting later; and memories of summer vacations that continue to bring a smile to my face.

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Jen Rivard
Jen Rivard

Beautifully written piece! I felt like I was there with you. Very nostalgic. Parts of it reminded me of my own summers as a youth.

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