Do you still remember those endless summer days when you were a kid? The first week out of school was wealth abounding -- so many days ahead, bright with the promise of joy and discovery. I would leave the house in the morning, and often not return until the dinner bell called me back at dusk. We would ride our bikes five abreast down the middle of the road, off to catch minnows in the creek or visit the new kittens in a neighbor's barn. When it got too hot to bike, we would take our quarters and visit the little general store in town, which was always a dark and cool place to spend an afternoon. We would buy candy or ice cream, and eat while we dawdled on the front porch.
We used to saddle our fat ponies and trail ride all day, delighting in the chance to jump a fallen log or ford a gurgling brook. Sometimes we would set up small jumps, and practice over and over. We even spent a few nights sleeping in the stable, relishing our freedom from enforced baths and bedtimes. On those nights, we would catch fireflies in a jar, and stay up till all hours with our flashlights winking in the darkness.
We brought baseballs and bats to the firemen's baseball field, and argued over who got to hit first. We would visit the mobile library when it parked at the grammar school, and borrow the latest Nancy Drew. Then, when we discovered an older girl in town who owned almost the complete set of mysteries, we would haunt her house until she loaned us armloads of books.
Reading was often my favored pursuit, and I can vividly remember taking an old blanket out under the canopy of a low-hanging branch, and losing myself for the entire day in another world. I was absolutely certain that I would grow up to be, if not a titian-haired beauty, at least a brave and intelligent young woman.
And while the titian hair was a lost cause, and the bravery questionable, I do trust that a little of the intelligence came to be. But the feeling of having the world spread before me, and time enough to explore it, is the thing I miss most about those endless childhood days of summer. I suspect that is true of most of us.
May we all have a day of bright exploration still ahead. Do you have a childhood memory that calls out to you today?