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The Madison Record

It's summer, and the living is easy

By By Thomas Tingle
Record Managing Editor
School is out and I've noticed a lot of kids wondering around town trying to figure out what to do with themselves during the next couple of months while they are on summer break.
During the summer months while I was growing up, there was always something to do. The neighborhood I lived in was filled with kids my age, so we usually got together and played at each other's homes. The doors were wide open so when it came time for lunch, wherever we were at the time is where we would stop for a few minutes and eat. There was plenty of bread for sandwiches and something to drink in the refrigerator. We never went hungry.
Most of the kids in my neighborhood had built a fort out of scrap building materials left over from the numerous homes under construction all around us. You could find us either adding something to the fort or painting it whatever color was left in the paint cans stored in the garage.
I lived at the foot of a mountain, so venturing off into the woods to play on the giant boulders was common for all of us. Computer games were unheard of, so we really had to use our imagination to figure out something to do – but we usually did.
When it was blistering hot outside, the sprinklers were on and we'd be in our bathing suits or cut off shorts having fun in the water trying to stay cool.
My son Austin went to a birthday party a few weeks ago for his little neighbor friend across the street from us. I decided to buy the little boy a "slip and slide" so that he and his brothers and sisters could use it and he could have all the kids in the subdivision come over and play on it as well. The little boy's parents thought that was a wonderful idea.
My parents had joined a country club down in south Huntsville. Most of the kids in our neighborhood belonged to the club, so we'd spend a lot of time swimming in the pool, but most of our summer fun came from us using our minds and figuring out something to do in our neighborhood.
As I got older, my interests changed. I worked on my own yard and kept it quite nicely. I had a couple of yards up the street that I helped our neighbors tend too and when my yard was recognized as the yard of the month by the neighborhood garden club committee, I felt a sense of accomplishment and pride.
Now that school is out, what am I going to do this summer?
Well, I will be working as usual here at the paper, but I've got several summer-oriented things to do at home. I'm planning on asking my oldest nephew to come and help me in my yard to give him something to do and then I'm going to buy our son a little swimming pool for him to play in and have the neighborhood kids over to enjoy. The door will be wide open. There will be plenty of bread for sandwiches and something to drink in the refrigerator if they get hungry.
We have several homes under construction near us, so I may start collecting some scrap building materials and I may build Austin a little fort for him to play in.
When he gets older, his interests will change and he can help me in the yard or perhaps help a neighbor in their yard. There is always something to do during the summer, but have fun doing it – especially when you are a kid.

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