Enjoy rest of summer while you can


Summer is nodding, on its way out.
Last week, there were mornings that carried the chill of an early fall. And it seems that no matter how old I become, I still hate to see freedom end for all of the children who are heading back to school.
Rush is on. Remember that frantic, frenetic feeling of packing in every single thrill as summer came to a close?
“We have to skip some stones! And it would be a great day to catch some fish. That means some of us need to dig for worms. I know just the place!” one of my siblings would shout.
The rush was on to somehow do it all, at least one more time, before the school bells began to ring once again.
“Grab the walkie-talkies!” someone would instruct, because Dad had reminded us that he might need us if the hay dried enough for baling. Someone had to be appointed as the person to stay in touch with the hay report, checking in with Dad from time to time.
And if we were needed right away, the message could be relayed by that miraculous invention, the good old walkie-talkie.
If the weather was good and hot, there was no doubt we would be taking a dip in the farm pond.
Tree house. A good swim was often followed by a snack of Kool-Aid and saltine crackers in the tree house that sat near the pond.
That two-story tree house felt like a fancy meeting place to us, and we were sure that we were the luckiest kids in the world.
If it was a cool day, we might retreat to the hay mow and devise any number of games to be played there. It always involved re-arranging the hay bales to suit our game. Why was it that moving those particular bales around didn’t seem like work?
For my older sisters, a shopping trip might be necessary before the first day of school.
Hand-me-downs. As the fourth daughter, I relied on those great hand-me-downs, which I accepted without complaint. In fact, when my sisters revealed a new school dress at the end of their day of shopping, I would grin to myself, knowing that pretty thing was going to be in my closet in just a matter of time.
My younger brother and I would find ourselves hoping like crazy that we didn’t have to be dragged along for school shopping and the horrid task of trying on clothes. We still had too much to do!
One summer, the rental house on our parents’ one farm was empty, so we became detectives trying to solve a make-believe crime. We invented official-sounding names for ourselves, devised a method for taking fingerprints, and scoured the outside property for footprints.
I was detective Marjorie McGillicutty, the first woman officer ever assigned to such a difficult case. Of course, we solved the crime before milking time, and we about burned up those walkie-talkies in the process.
The calendar seemed to be playing a cruel trick on us, those last days of freedom flying way too fast. And the days of summer still fly by, don’t they? Enjoy every one.


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Judith Sutherland, born and raised on an Ohio family dairy farm, now lives on a 70-acre farm not far from the area where her father’s family settled in the 1850s. Appreciating the tranquility of rural life, Sutherland enjoys sharing a view of her world through writing. Other interests include teaching, reading, training dogs and raising puppies. She and her husband have two children, a son and a daughter, and three grandchildren.