Welcome Summer by Mae Clair

Today feels a bit like a holiday. It’s Friday, the end of the work week, gorgeous outside, and it’s the first day of summer!

beautiful girl enjoying the summer sun

As a kid, summer started for most of us the moment the afternoon bell rang on the last day of school. Remember the giddy exhilaration you felt as you burst through the doors and raced from the building with your friends? A glorious world awaited, full of trips to the beach, ballgames, swimming and exploring.

I’m old enough to remember when the pinnacle of summer fun included splashing through creeks, riding bikes, chasing butterflies and dancing with the wind. At night, my friends and I played hide-and-seek, told ghost stories and slept out beneath the stars.

Summer was also a time when the local Fireman’s Association sponsored a carnival in my small town setting up food tents, prize booths and an assortment of rides in the community ballpark. My friends and I couldn’t wait to clamber into the brightly-colored seats of the Ferris wheel, hoping to get stuck at the top for a bird’s eye view of everyone milling below (the adult in me shudders to remember that).

We gobbled up hot dogs, pizza, cotton candy and snow cones; spent the money our parents gave us on silly games like the dime-pitch, ring-toss, and duck pond. I remember trotting home with a goldfish in a plastic bag, a baseball-sized glass bowl, and some fish food. I’m sure my parents didn’t expect “Lucky” to last seven years, but he more than lived up to his name.

Years later, I still cherish the magic of summer, although I look at the calendar differently than I did when I was ten. Now the season starts for me with the summer equinox, the longest day of the year. In 2013, that occurs today (or did at 1:04 AM for those on the east coast of the U.S.).

When four o’clock rolls around, it won’t simply single the start of my weekend – it will also mark the beginning of a season of enchantment. Just thinking about it resurrects the same giddy sense of exhilaration I felt as a kid.

What about you? How do you plan to mark the day or celebrate your summer? Do you have any fond memories from childhood that still resonate with summertime magic?

20 thoughts on “Welcome Summer by Mae Clair

  1. Temperatures are hitting in the tripple digits with humidity in the high 90s – I’m perfectly happy with a life of 70 degrees year round and 50 degrees at night. Summertime as a child meant hiding in the hayloft of the barn and reading and pretending I couldn’t hear when anyone called for help with chores. Of course there were the usual activities of horseback riding, 4-H [and I still maintain 4-H was a better education than all those years of college], plus getting my brothers into trouble.

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    • I like the sound of your childhood, Sheri. It sounds like a lot of fun…and educational too with 4-H. We’re hitting 86 degrees tomorrow and 90 on Sunday. I can’t wait for the hot stuff as it will give me a chance to use my pool!

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  2. Summer is such a joy, and for all the reasons you described — that sense of freedom from all the “have to” things in life. I’ve celebrated with coffee, but maybe I’ll need to add some ice cream to the festivities, and a good book. 🙂

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    • Ooh, ice cream! I picked up a small strawberry cake on the way home tonight. I’m not much of a cake person but it just looked and sounded so summery. I plan to read outside tonight on my rear porch until it’s too dark to see 🙂

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  3. My birthday falls five days before the first day of summer – so I have always seen it as the start of a new year – for me at least. Camping, horseback riding (waveing at fellow 4-H alumni) and the beach. Loved the beach and those (sandy) hot dogs. My (male) cousins used to like to shake up soda cans and then lob them at you partially opened …. until they got yelled at for wasting food, i.e. someone had to PAY for that. My aunt would use both their (Christian) names when she lowered the boom! All the other girl cousins were 5 years older or five years younger – I got stuck the middle of a pack of boys – three 1 year older – two 1 year younger… did I mention the “pine cone” wars? … and when I got breasts in the 5th grade – no more playing football with them. 🙂

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    • LOL, Diane. You must have really had your hands full with all those boy cousins. The pine cone wars kind of sound like fun but they probably hurt. I also love the sandy hot dogs at the beach and I’m jealous of the horseback riding. I always wanted to live on a farm, although I’m sure the amount of work would be a real eye opener!

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  4. Ah. Mae! You summed up many of my fondest memories in this post. I felt like I was relieving the past all over again. There are days when I really miss those carefree days of chasing around the neighborhood at dusk, then sleeping under the stars. The older I get the more I reminisce about how great we had it.

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    • Emma, I like the name fun-fair. Goldfish are a common prize at our traveling carnivals. Most times you have to throw a golf ball into a tiny fish bowl to win. For a kid, it’s the ultimate prize 🙂

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  5. Hi Mae, you are the last blog for me to get to today (only because your email came first!). The solstice is almost over, but here in Northern Michigan at 10:06 pm there is still time for a glass of wine and to watch the last of the light dip below the horizon. Which i am going to do. The kids are tucked, everything is done, and now, time to enjoy. I lived overseas for over 15 years, but I remember this most about home, long hot summer nights, lovely breeze and twilight song around me. Including the crickets.Thanks for another good memory boost 🙂

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  6. What a lovely picture you’ve painted,Cd. It’s dark here now but you painted such a vivid image of that last light dipping below the horizon I can see it. Enjoy your evening and that relaxing glass of wine. Thanks for sharing the first day of summer with me 🙂

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    • Kourtney, catching lightning bugs with my friends is one of my treasured memories too. We’d pick wild strawberries from an open field, and then later blackberries and honeysuckle. What treasured days those were. Thanks for sharing!

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