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Summertime Bucket List

By Lori Welch Brown

Summertime Bucket List

Gosh—this is so exciting.  We actually get to have a summer outside of our own backyards.  Woo hoo!  We can travel in non-pod packs, meander aimlessly through the aisles of Wings stores nationwide in our quest for flip flop keychains, puka shell anklets, and other treasures.  Best of all—we can apply shimmery coral shades of lipstick with the confident knowledge someone will actually see it. 

Welcome to Summer 2021. 

You’d think this would be easy.  We would all be lined up at the gate, passport in hand, ready to slather up, and belly up, right?  There needn’t be any last-minute plans to conjure up, no VRBO sites to scan in the midnight hours.  No, our plans just need to be unpacked from the files we tucked them away in last year when we were told there would be no Summer 2020. We would hit the proverbial ‘easy’ button and they’d inflate like a bouncy house.  Just dust those plans off folks and prepare for lift off.  The Captain has secured the cabin, and we are good to go! 

Somehow, it’s not feeling all that easy.  Last year’s halt/stop has somehow morphed into this year’s indecision and tentativeness.  Where to go?  What to do?  Is it safe?  Do we wear masks?  How much hand sanitizer should I pack?  Are those people vaccinated?  Should I pack some masks just in case?  How about on the plane?  Are we even allowed in that country yet?  Is that new strain going around yet?  Can we catch it even if we’ve been vaccinated?  Holy mother of good times—where are you?

But, wait.  That’s my adult brain.  Adult brain is the ultimate summer buzz kill. No, this calls for us to engage our kid ‘school-is-out-for-summer’ brains.  What does my inner kid want to do this summer? 

My parents couldn’t afford fancy camps.  And for that, I am still bitter.  I still get jealous when I hear all my neighbors talking about the camps they’re sending their kids to—sailing camp, horseback riding camp, art camp.  Really?  WTH?!  I guess those exist for adults—now we call them workshops and retreats, but they’re on my dime.  But….I digress.

And we didn’t go on vacations to exotic locales every year, or ever really.  The first time I flew on an airplane, I was fifteen years old and that was only because my brother worked for the airlines and we were on his family pass.  Our summer fun was usually a car ride away or less, and it was some of the best fun I’ve ever had.

That kid didn’t need a plane ticket, French immersion, or an expensive mini-bar to make it happen.  So I asked that kid—the kid from the summer of 1979—what to do to have fun:

  • Eat an ice cream cone
  • Get a rub-on tattoo
  • Host a cook out
  • Jump rope
  • Wear a lei
  • Buy and wear an ankle bracelet
  • Roast a marshmallow
  • Light off some fireworks
  • Watch some fireworks
  • Decorate something red, white & blue
  • Pick a place on the map and drive to it for the day
  • Go on a hike
  • Build a sand castle
  • Order a Frosty from Wendy’s
  • Go to a night baseball game
  • Drive a go-cart
  • Do a cartwheel
  • Play a round of putt-putt golf
  • Send a postcard to a friend
  • Eat a slice of watermelon
  • Watch a sunrise
  • Drink something with an umbrella in it
  • Spend a lazy afternoon picking crabs
  • Eat a blackened hot dog
  • Crank up some Beach Boys music
  • Ride a Ferris wheel, merry-go-round or roller coaster
  • Take a nap in a hammock
  • Read a trashy novel
  • Drink a glass of sweet tea
  • Have a watermelon seed spitting contest
  • Treat yourself to a new pair of flip flops
  • Pack a picnic
  • Start a water balloon fight
  • Camp out under the stars
  • Find a fountain and make a wish
  • Make a snow cone
  • Watch a parade
  • Build your best version of a tomato sandwich (white bread w/mayo & salt, for me)
  • Eat some tater salad

The best part of the summertime bucket list?  Many of us now have the freedom to do whatever we want which has a whole new meaning this year.  The trickiest part?  Not taking it for granted. 

So, build your own version of a summertime bucket list.  As you check things off, do your part to move around safely.  Be kind, patient, and tolerant of others as you enjoy your freedoms as well as your ice cream sundaes and watermelon lip gloss.   

Cheers to a happy and safe 4th, everyone! 

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