Summer Vacation: A Backward Glance

IMG_1274In her autobiographical work A Backward Glance, Edith Wharton quotes Henry James as saying, “Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.”

With summer vacation long gone and summer’s official days waning fast, I must tip my hat to James, a man after my own heart.

So where did it all go? It began with a couple of the weeks spent in the Southwest, events I’m chronicling (with blinding speed) in my series Girl Meets West.

IMG_1032I also spent a week at Davidson College taking a class on teaching AP English Literature and Composition, a new class on my roster this fall. On my way to and from class and during breaks each day, I watched, and never once saw anyone using this swing. So you know what I did during my last break of the class?

I went swinging.

You could do a fascinating study just on people’s reactions to a live adult, particularly one once mistaken as a senior citizen, actually sitting on the swing using it. I got everything from looks of admiration and comments of “Oh! That looks fun!” to furtive, almost uncomfortable glances from those passing by. Why do social norms dictate that the vast majority of swing-users be children? Yes, there are certain things associated with childhood, like diapers, that should stay in childhood, but aren’t there some things, like swinging, that shouldn’t be socially age-restricted.

I am just saying.

IMG_1171Midsummer, we spent a few days at the old house between tenants. Everything went well, except for the part where we arrived to find two pieces of our furniture looking like someone tried to eat the arms off of them. Y’all, I’ve spent hours trying to imagine the series of events that led to the apparent consumption of my sofas.

Such as:

“Shoot, Sue, we forgot to bring food with us to the island and the Pig’s not open now until 7 a.m. Wait, I have an idea!”

“Umm, I know I shouldn’t, but these just look soo tasty.”

“Here, it was so dark in here with the curtains drawn and the movie going and all that I just thought I was eating the popcorn.”

“No one will notice we brought a dozen cats into a pet-free home if we just keep the cats inside all week long while we’re out playing on the beach every day.”

“Hey, I know this is crazy, but you know what would make for a great bucket list experience?”

“Have you ever tried couch?”

Sorry, I just can’t look at the bizarre and not try to figure out how it happened. It’s like some of my experiences with story problems in school. At some point, trying to figure out why “Sam leaves the house in a Volvo traveling thirty-five mph following both a train traveling at forty-two mph and his wife Adrianna, who left two hours earlier from the same house on a bike traveling fifteen mph” became more important than the actual math involved in the story problem. So I’d sit and ponder what possibly could be going on in the lives of Sam, Adrianna, and the nameless conductor that would cause them all to converge, purposely or otherwise, at a point in time I would have been able to identify if I’d stopped to do the math in the problem first.

I just can’t smell “story” and not partake.

IMG_1220Outside of the couch-eaters’ aftermath, as always, we enjoyed our time back on our old island. We spent hours and hours on the beach,



IMG_1234castle-building (not ours—ours lacked this level of sophistication),

IMG_1238and walking.

IMG_1216We have so many great memories of evening walks on the beach, now digitally frozen in the annals of family history.

See this is good.

This sort of picture is recurring with LCB, so I’m beginning to think he does this intentionally sometimes just to make me feel better about my less-than-noteworthy photography skills. As long as there’s at least one person lagging behind you in any particular skill set, you’re okay, you know?

IMG_1404IMG_1398LCB and I had a romantic getaway in Florida for a few days in July. Once we resolved ourselves to a computer crash, attended to all the business first demanding our attention, and resigned ourselves to the fact that it would rain during ninety-four percent of our stay, it was totally romantic.

And then it was back to life, back to reality, and back to the here and now of no life outside of grading essays and deciding whether or not it would be prudent to allow students of dubious repute to return to their lockers for the books they were supposed to bring to class.

IMG_1530So here’s our first day back at school shot. I can’t remember what we were looking at in the yard below, but it must have been riveting.

Either that or we were all contemplating hopping the deck and making a run for it, ditching school in search of just one more summer afternoon.

2 Replies to “Summer Vacation: A Backward Glance”

  1. Got a chuckle from your “blinding speed” comment. There is a certain project around here that has taken what feels like an eternity to complete. Looking forward to getting my life back.

    Seriously, story problems… not sure I solved even one, they just don’t make any sense.

    1. Glad I’m not the only one with “long-term” project issues and story problem issues! :):)

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