Kids, Farm, Service Keep Boredom Out of The Summer Story

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Our kids’ sound slumber the morning after a late night at fireworks ended abruptly with morning chores, then a brief community service commitment, a light lunch ahead of a pool outing with cousins and later a softball game at the most distant location in the summer ball schedule. The evening’s ballpark roadtrip offered a chance to scout crop conditions in another county while ingesting a ham sandwich that avoided concession stand calories. After all that, we still returned home to the kids’ plea to “stay up longer” and our son’s nightly request to catch lightning bugs. They completely forgot how tired that morning had started. By now, the sun cast long shadows. The day needed to wrap up with summer’s nightly “business baths,” my friend’s term for bathing only long enough to remove the day’s sweat, sunscreen, dirt and/or bug spray. Get down to business; no bubbles or relaxing soaks.

Somewhere between my daughter and I scrubbing the rear hock of her 4-H pig Spots and re-sudsing the loofah for Bacon, I realize my kids don’t have time for boredom, nor summer’s lazy days. This is the summer that I hoped would rank less hectic than the last. Yet, with June teetering on drought status, we experienced only one rained-out ball game this summer.

Something like a snow day, a good soaker to break a pattern of four nights a week at the ballpark would offer the “gift of time.” In such an event, we may eat meatloaf, fresh green beans and homemade rolls, and afterward lounge on the porch to take in the growing garden, an evolving work of family art and savory produce.

Soon, the start of school will bring those first-day writing assignments about summer’s activities. I wonder what our kids will scribe: For the first time, we harnessed and leashed a farm cat for the 4-H Show, only to learn he falls to his side and acts paralyzed with the contraption. Our daughter decorated with roadside flowers in splendor for a cousin’s bridal shower in the farm shop. A family reunion prompted a classic game of wiffle ball in the farm yard, with all four generations either playing or spectating the routine foul balls into Granny’s muskmelon vines. Our farm’s roaming rooster earned the nickname Noodles for an ornery, aggressive episode that resulted in an empty threat as a chicken noodle supper.

We continue to write summer’s story. Chapters in the garden, at the 4-H poultry show, ball games and farm play dates collectively reveal the heart of our summer days, which end with a prayer and start with morning’s light.

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