Summer vacation

Does it seem to anyone else that summer lasted forever when you were a child? I can remember the delicious sense of anticipation, and the prospect of unknown adventure, on the last day of school before the beginning of summer vacation. In my young mind, it really did seem that a grand expanse of time loomed before me, and any number of wonderful things could happen.

On that first night, I can remember lying in bed, on perfectly cool, smooth, sheets and thinking how wonderful it was that I didn’t have to wake up at any particular time the next day. That I would be at home when Ezra, the man who helped with our yard work, came to mow and weed and I could run outside to “help” him. That I would be at home on Friday morning when my Aunt Nonnie made her weekly trip to the beauty shop to have her hair coiffed and her nails manicured a perfect shade of red.

Wherever I went, a book went with me–whether it was next door to swim in my neighbor’s pool, or over to Georgia for the family reunion, or down to Panama City for a week at the beach.

I relished every long, summer evening, when I would catch lightning bugs and lie on a quilt on the porch, just outside the screen door and watch them blink on and off while listening to the baseball game or whatever my aunt and uncle might have on the radio. I loved the days that we visited the farmer’s market and came home with ears of corn to shuck, beans to snap or shell, and watermelon to enjoy after supper. I can’t imagine anything better than those days.

Among my favorite activities, however, were trips to the library. My local library was the Irondale branch, just a short walk from Fannie Flagg’s Whistle Stop Cafe. I spent long hours there, and I would always come home with an armful of books. It was wonderful knowing that I could spend the entire day reading and traveling in my mind. I was a highly imaginative child, and I had daydreams of falling into some sort of mystery like my favorite girl detectives Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden, or perhaps an innocent, summer romance might develop between me and some golden-haired boy with tanned arms like the heroines in my favorite Beverly Cleary books.

Wherever I went, a book went with me–whether it was next door to swim in my neighbor’s pool, or over to Georgia for the family reunion, or down to Panama City for a week at the beach.

These days, I take great delight in observing my daughters enjoy their summer vacation, and the opportunity to relax and spend time reading and daydreaming. It makes my heart happy when they tell me about what they’re reading at the moment, or even better, when they ask me to recommend a book!

I find myself as an adult, returning to favorite books from my past, certain ones that I read each summer, because they seem to feel right for summer reading. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is one book I read almost every summer. Harper Lee is, of course, a native of Monroeville, Alabama.

I hope that you and yours enjoy the long, hot days of our Alabama summers, and let literature be your companion. Take a book with you when you vacation, or anytime you’re relaxing.

Written by: Stephani R.