Summer memories last a lifetime

Blessing to educators, bane to stay-at-home moms, summer is in full swing. With its long days and warm weather, summer arguably makes more memories than all the other seasons combined. Here are some of mine.


Nothing spells summer like VBS (Vacation Bible School). Before the days of VBS-in-a-box complete with soundtracks and t-shirts, a plump preacher conducted “sword drills” in a stuffy auditorium. John 7:37? I got it! “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink.” Yes!

Drink we did on those humid middle Tennessee mornings: McDonald’s orange drink by the yellow cooler full.

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

Our kids will attend three VBSes this summer. My kindergartener wants to add a fourth: “VBS-ta Texas.” He really wants to learn that God stays with us through the ups and downs of life.


We weren’t members, but someone invited us to 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.

Swimming must have been a non-negotiable on the day Mom agreed to wrestle the beast to the water source. I’m sure our arrival caused the cosmopolitans to rethink their commitment to diversity. I didn’t notice. I simply swam up a huge appetite.

At the poolside snack bar, I learned that nothing satisfies post-swimming hunger like a sandwich, an ice cream sandwich.

My kids will learn some things at the pool this summer. Someone will teach my pre-schooler that the game is Marco Polo, not Marco “Pillow.” It’s not going to be me.


For several summers, Mom borrowed an Apple II computer from the school where she taught. Our family rarely adventured beyond a Motel 6, so Oregon Trail became my gateway to the frontier.

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

1. A wheel could come off your wagon. 2. Your kids could starve because you can’t hunt worth a darn. 3. Your wife may drown while fording a river. 4. You could die of dysentery. Crap.


Oregon Trail prepared me for our church camp located in the shadow of the tallest waterfall south of Niagara, Fall Creek Falls in east Tennessee. The falls were fatal to go over but a rush to swim under.

The waterfall wasn’t the only water that washed over me at that camp. At age eleven, I was baptized into Christ after a campfire devotional on the last night of camp. A great cloud of witnesses consisting of seventy-five campers and thirty staff members surrounded the swimming hole.

Thirty minutes later I was filling water balloons in preparation for a midnight raid of a rival cabin. Salvation is instant. Sanctification takes time.

In retrospect, it was a night for obeying Jesus, including Matthew 18:3 – “Unless you change and become like little children, you shall never enter the kingdom of heaven.”


Kevin Thompson writes a weekly column for The Boerne Star in the Texas Hill Country. Follow him at

21 Responses to “Summer memories last a lifetime”

  1. 1 jessestroup July 15, 2014 at 06:30

    Hey Kevin,  You put it out there with those religious references and Scripture references. Any push back from readers or bosses?  I hope so – that way you will know you are being lead in the path’s of righteousness. 

    Smiling, Father-in-law

      Jesse R. Stroup Director of Spiritual Care Lifeline Chaplaincy 511 N. Akard suite 202 Dallas, TX 75201

  2. 2 July 15, 2014 at 09:45

    Thanks, Kevin. Memories are precious.  Goodloe Chaffin 

  3. 3 Matt Diana July 16, 2014 at 17:13


    Will share with family. Life is beautiful!

    Matt Diana

  4. 4 July 17, 2014 at 16:02


  5. 5 July 23, 2014 at 09:42


    The question is not will we be governed by Sharia Law, but when. The turning point will occur when the vast majority of our people  becomes dependent on the government for their livelihood. That time is rapidly approaching. Consider this seriously and think about how it can be resisted.

  6. 6 September 9, 2014 at 09:21

    On Monday, September 8, 2014 9:20 PM, “” wrote:

    Sent from Xfinity Connect Mobile App


  7. 7 September 12, 2014 at 10:47

    “The more things change, the more they remain the same.” -French Proverb

  8. 8 September 23, 2014 at 10:12

    Since inception, our great country has led the cause of Liberty for the world. Objective research will reveal the fact that the “strong black men” in Africa were the culprits who controlled a slave trade to America, which used these people as slaves to perform principally manual labor. While there were secondary causes of the Civil War, the principal cause was the effort to free the people who had been brought over from Africa to America.In the process of freeing the slaves, there were over 650,000 American casualties, an element of the larger picture forgotten by many people today.

  9. 9 September 29, 2014 at 09:58

    This admonition should be considered by all thinking people.

  10. 10 October 13, 2014 at 20:30

    Oh boy!Sent from Xfinity Connect Mobile App

  11. 11 October 20, 2014 at 22:05

    A true reaction to responsibility-

    On Monday, October 20, 2014 8:40 PM, Liz Ramsey wrote:

    ________________________________ From:Jim Elder [] Sent: Monday, October 20, 2014 5:10 PM To: Undisclosed-Recipient:; Subject: Fw: Democrats rally for Obama

  12. 12 October 23, 2014 at 10:18

    Our country is closer to being taken over than at any time in the lives of the oldest of our citizens. I suggest that recipients go to Google and determine how Hitler was able to control the entire population with a very small proportion of Germany’s people. I fear that we are farther along than most realize. Please give this alert serious consideration at a time when a disaster can be averted.GSC

  13. 13 October 28, 2014 at 11:55

    It appears that our country could be experiencing a similar takeover to that of Germany prior to WWII. A dependable account of this can be found on Google. GSC

  14. 14 November 18, 2014 at 22:04

    You cannot disagree with this assessment. GSC

    Sent from Windows Mail

  15. 15 November 30, 2014 at 22:01

    On Sunday, November 30, 2014 3:05 PM, Liz Ramsey wrote: A little rough on the edges, but so true. GSC

    ________________________________ From: Jim Elder [] Sent: Sunday, November 30, 2014 7:12 AM To: Undisclosed-Recipient:; Subject: Fw: Fwd: Fw: Fwd: MAINE’S NEW GOVERNOR

  16. 16 December 1, 2014 at 10:46

    With a civilized society, order is achieved by obtaining facts and acting on them in connection with disagreements. Otherwise, emotions control where, paradoxically, there are no beneficiaries or winners. It is not difficult to discern the results when there are no family footings to direct a pathetic group such as we are seeing today.

    On Sunday, November 30, 2014 1:44 PM, Liz Ramsey wrote:

    ________________________________ From: Jim Elder [] Sent: Sunday, November 30, 2014 11:34 AM To: Undisclosed-Recipient:; Subject: Fw: FW: WHAT FERGUSON MEANS FOR AMERICA’S COPS.

  17. 17 December 5, 2014 at 21:44

    On Friday, December 5, 2014 7:47 PM, Liz Ramsey wrote: As you have already noticed, there are many good and sensible black people who resent the actions of their leaders who use the less fortunate for their own selfish benefit. Until this tragedy is reversed, there will be no progress.

    ________________________________ From: Jim Elder [] Sent: Friday, December 05, 2014 2:33 PM To: Undisclosed-Recipient:; Subject: Fw: The White Side of the Story

  18. 18 December 18, 2014 at 15:49

    Amen GSC

  19. 19 December 23, 2014 at 16:39

    This account does not cover every aspect of the economic consequences to be considered, but the alternative would be to have the recipient become progressively dependent on the government and/or politicians.

  20. 20 May 24, 2016 at 09:47

    Thinkers say “more truth than poetry”.

  21. 21 June 10, 2016 at 09:57

    Americans for reliable information should expose the media when it purposely distorts.

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