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Tuesday, May 5, 2015

What I did this summer

Friday, October 21, 2011

Summer is winding down. Harvesting is in full swing. We have many wonderful memories of the fun we have had over the last half dozen months, traveling, spending time with family who live out of our area and attending sporting events.

Our seven adult children, all of them with families of their own, had lots of fun with exciting baseball, softball and soccer games, swim meets, music camps, etc. We can't possibly be physically present for a lot of that stuff but we love hearing about all of it after the fact. None of our grandchildren, or our children for that matter, will have memories similar to those we had at their ages. I wish I had kept a few of those first day of school "what I did this summer" compositions. Not just the ones I wrote, but those my own children wrote.

It would be interesting to compare those compositions with those our grandchildren would write today and to be reminded of what we found to be exciting about our summers when we were young. In retrospect I remember wishing I could tell about going to the Black Hills instead of our normal Sunday drives around the county. I wished I could say we had explored a museum somewhere. I read about them but had never been to a museum of any kind. Maybe I wrote that summer vacation meant I could read as many books as I wanted without having to make a report on what I read. That was definitely something I treasured about the time away from homework. I am sure whatever I did write would make today's youth yawn.

On the other hand, the parents of our grandchildren may admit their favorite thing about summer is the very same as it was for us when our house was full of children. The last day was our favorite. The next day the children would go back to school. Regular bedtimes would once again be observed and we could get back into a more predictable routine. For at least 8 hours of every weekday we knew exactly where everyone was - at a desk at school.

Part of our summer fun these days is living vicariously through our grandchildren, hearing about their adventures and activities. A granddaughter spent a couple of weeks in Africa. She traveled with fellow students and some instructors on a college-sponsored educational trip. We envied her all the wonderful experiences and sights she enjoyed on the trip. She was only back home a few weeks before she traveled to Costa Rica with her basketball team.

My oldest grandson is a mechanical engineer working in the aeronautics industry. He spent this summer designing a new jet engine and then followed it through the testing process. He wrote telling us they had taken it to a state some distance away from their location in Kansas to have it cruise down a flooded runway to see how it was affected by water. I teased him about having to take it out of state to find a puddle for the test. Was Kansas really that dry?

He wrote back saying if I thought that was funny, the next week they took the plane to Florida to test its reaction to below zero weather. A test for cold in Florida in the summer? He did explain about a testing facility there allowing for that. But the most exciting part of his letter was none of the above. He commented on my hot air balloon flight and my admission that if I had my life to live over I would have a pilot's license. He said they are hiring test pilots and if I sent a resume to the company he would put in a good word for me. What a guy!

I could see only wonderful things happening if I applied to become a test pilot. Unfortunately, I don't have a husband who shares my vision. I remain in our little retirement home with my only forms of transportation being my blue golf cart or my red van. I expect more fun filled summers ahead but they could be really exciting if only the man I married didn't have so much common sense. mdroder@yahoo.com

By Mary S. Roder
Musing With Mary