Summer summarized

Hardly a bummer, summer officially sauntered in this week. Blessing to educators, bane to stay-at-home moms of elementary-aged children, summer arguably makes more memories than all the other seasons combined.

My family’s summer can be summarized this way: Vacation Bible School (VBS), swimming, camp, repeat. All three are requisites of the season.

Sometimes they mate, such as when my three-year-old announced he wanted to go to “TBS”, a hybrid of VBS and the New Braunfels sports camp, T Bar M, which his older brothers attend.


Nothing spells summer quite like VBS. What memories. The plump preacher conducting “sword drills” in the auditorium. Nehemiah 3:17? I got it! No sweat.

Except there was sweat on those humid Nashville mornings. Which made the yellow coolers of McDonald’s orange drink all the more thirst-quenching.

VBS is where I first learned the meaning of JOY (Jesus first – Others second – You third), an acronym only recently challenged by the great Christian Web site: I Am

My kids will attend three VBSes this summer. My oldest has already used that fact as an excuse to skip church. Sounds like I need to sign him up for a fourth.


We weren’t members, but someone invited us. It was a private pool tucked in the trees of a manicured south Nashville neighborhood.

Mom’s car must have been in the shop, because we took Dad’s extra work truck, a 1976 Ford. No AC, no power steering, no power brakes, no fun. The flatbed had wooden sides that barricaded the indiscriminately dumped trash Dad cleared from behind shopping centers.

Evidently, swimming was a non-negotiable on that particular day because mom agreed to wrestle-drive the light blue beast.

Our eventual arrival transformed the look of the private club parking lot. I’m sure we made the cosmopolitans rethink their commitment to diversity. I didn’t notice. I simply swam, hungered and indulged at the snack bar.

It was there that I learned a scientific fact: Nothing satisfies post-swimming hunger like a sandwich, an ice cream sandwich.

My kids will also learn some things at the Boerne city pool this summer. Someone will teach my three-year-old that the game is called Marco “Polo”, not Marco “Pillow”. It’s not going to be me.


Since Mom was a public school teacher, she could borrow an Apple IIe computer for the summer. Our family rarely roughed it beyond a Motel 6, so the beige box became my means to adventure. I headed out on the trail, the Oregon Trail.

An educational computer game, Oregon Trail intended to teach children the realities of 19th century pioneer life. It mainly taught me worst-case scenarios:

Your kids could starve because you can’t hunt worth a darn. Your wife may drown while fording a river. A wheel could come off your wagon. You could die of dysentery. Oh, crap.

But Oregon Trail also got me ready for camp and the non-virtual adventures that come with it. The tallest waterfall south of Niagara, Fall Creek Falls in east Tennessee, served as the centerpiece of my camp thrills. The falls were fatal to go over but a rush to swim under.

The threat of danger is largely the point of adventure. Every summer needs some, notwithstanding the messages on elementary school marquees. It’s how memories are made.


1 Response to “Summer summarized”

  1. 1 Bennye Waskom June 23, 2012 at 21:53

    Thanks, Kevin….you made me 12 again…..b

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