By Kendall Vogts
Being married to the editor, you think it’d be easy for me to come up with a topic to write about each month. Sometimes, I even say, “Give me a topic!”, and he will usually come up with something helpful. But as we are both sprinting toward summer and the end of our school year, our minds are going in, what seems like, 15 different directions. So when he gave me the topic “Summer Lovin’”, I repeated my request. “Give me a topic!” To which he replied, “…Had me a blast.” And while I would love to write about Grease or how much I loved watching Grease Live, I wasn’t sure how I would attempt to connect to you through that piece.
Even though his suggestion was less than helpful when it came to writing an entire piece about the topic, his idea did give me a push towards thinking about the things that I love to do during the summer, which brought on more thinking and reminiscing about what my summers growing up looked like.
I’ve been really sentimental lately, as I am entering my summer break.
Now, yes, I went swimming, hung out with friends and went on trips with my family, but there are simple things done during past summers that have made quite an impact on who I am today. The first of those items being a chore done everyday during the summers of my childhood.
Now, my father is outdoorsy. Not in the camping, hiking, fishing sense, but in the mowing, gardening, going on walks, watering flowers, trimming hedges, landscaping kind of way. Each morning during the summer, my dad would call, probably hoping to wake me up, to give me instructions as to what I was supposed to water and when. “Ken, water the flowers on the east side of the house now. Then sometime before lunch, water the bushes on the south side and the bushes on the west side of the house. Make sure you don’t forget!”
So, I would slip on my flip-flops, and go to it; dodging bumble bees and waving at neighbors as they drove by. Then, I didn’t see the value in having these chores. I not-so-secretly hated doing these tasks for my dad, but, as I think back to it and now that I am grown, I truly appreciate the time spent in the beauty that was and still is our yard! He is the best landscaper that I know, and now that the editor and I have a new house that has absolutely nothing of a yard, I have very high expectations for how my yard and landscaping will look. Needless to say, my husband is more than willing to let my dad help out!
Another common, summer activity for me was going to the lake, and it is still one of my favorite things to do. I have such a romanticized view of the lake. I always was and still am more than willing to spend my entire day on the boat! Sit in the sun, talk with family, watch other boats troll by, take the occasional dip in the lake, switch out a cousin for the jet skis . . . Now that is my idea of the best summer afternoon!
Now that I am grown, I look back on times spent at the lake with the same sentimentality as I am feeling now at the school year ends. My heart wells up, and there is that little flicker of excitement mixed with, what seems like, a mental PowerPoint of good memories!
One of my family’s favorite things to do is to play games while we are there! In particular, to play sand volleyball. We get all of the kids, aunts, uncles and grandparents out there. There have been times of so much laughter that we have had to take a break from the game and attempt to come back and finish later after we’ve all calmed down!
Thinking of past memories and the simple tasks and activities that take place during the summer really have me excited! Whether it’s admiring my dad’s landscaping or planning for my own, a cruise around the lake on my uncle’s boat, taking a walk with my mom, eating a meal outside on the patio furniture, or walking through the zoo, those are the things that make summer for me!
So yeah, I am summer lovin’, and I will have me a blast!
Kendall Vogts lives and teaches in Central Kansas. She is married to WFM publisher Todd Vogts.