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Lazy days of summer

They’re upon us a lot sooner than we expect, the lazy days of summer, and although summer doesn’t officially start until June 20, the unofficial start date for most of us is always right after school lets out.

I recall my days at Cluster Springs Elementary School and the countdown to summer.

Scenes and displays on our classroom bulletin board marked the seasons as the school year went forward, including special boards for Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Classroom projects also were displayed on our bulletin board, and once Easter had passed, every one of us began anticipating the countdown to summer, as the days grew progressively warmer.

My school was not fortunate to have an air conditioner in those days, so our teacher would break out the box fan to cool off everybody.

We would open our windows to receive some of that fresh, Southern Virginia air, permeated with that familiar humidity.

The last day of school arrived, and we were told to clean out our desks for the last time, an arduous task for myself, the class litterbug.

The last bus ride home for the school year had me anticipating taking my shoes off and going barefoot for the summer.

My feet would soon be as tough as shoe leather, able to withstand hot asphalt highways and sharp gravel, and as soon as I got inside my house, the tennis shoes came off.

My spider bike was ready and waiting for a summer of adventures, when my buddies and I would ride country roads to a friend’s house for a day of just goofing off.

Dixie sports were in full swing by then, and my parents and I would make the trip to town and Cluster Springs to watch my big brother play ball.

I put together my hammock and placed it under the large tree in my backyard, eager to take advantage of the opportunity to read books I wanted to read, instead of those I was forced to read.

Plans were made for me to attend Vacation Bible School, whether at my home church in the country or at another church my friends attended in town.

I broke out my swim trunks and fishing pole, and I was already thinking of my next visit to Buggs Island Lake and Aunt Ednes’ cabin, followed by a family vacation.

My visions of a lazy summer were soon to be shattered, however, when our garden began to grow.

We all knew the routine of plowing, seeding, fertilizing and weeding before the ultimate prize of eating homegrown produce awaited us at the end.

Knowing that and trying to beat the heat of the day, mom would wake me from a sound sleep with the words, “Let’s get some work done.”

Suddenly, school didn’t seem so bad after all.