With school starting next week I thought I'd impress my daughter's second-grade teacher by doing my first assignment early.

What I Did on My Summer Vacation

By Scott Graves

This summer I spent most of my time at work. You see, I'm not as fortunate as my daughter, Alia, who had nearly three months to live it up. But I'm not bitter. (OK, maybe just a little.)

I requested a three-month sabbatical from work this summer but, for some reason, it was rejected. I was certain the paper could still be published twice a week without me. Go figure.

Actually, I was able to enjoy summer quite a bit. Being the editor, I can give myself the best assignments.

Need some photos of kids playing at the beach? I'm there!

Need a story about the temperature of the Chetco River? I'm on it! (Or, rather, I'm in it.)

Need coverage of the annual Kite Festival at the port? Sure! I always keep a kite in the back of my vehicle.

Yes, it's a tough job, but somebody has to do it.

When I wasn't covering such Pulitzer Prize-worthy assignments this summer, I took advantage of every opportunity for outdoor fun with Alia and my wife, Jacque. It's easy to do when you live in a place where thousands come to vacation.

We enjoyed splashing at the Brookings Municipal Swimming Pool, taking long walks on sections of the nearby Oregon Coast Trail, and exploring local beaches and tide pools. We paddled our kayaks around the Port of Brookings Harbor (and fished from the dock, too). We visited with a dozen or so seals and pelicans during a kayak excursion to the Smith River estuary.

We spent lazy afternoons up the Chetco River, where we captured newts, netted small fish and made new friends. My daughter amazed a 12-year-old boy once by jumping off the highest point of "Dive Rock" at Loeb State Park. "Wow! I've never seen a girl her age jump from there," he remarked.

So she did it again and again and again and. ...

Still, it's nice to get out of town, even if it's just for a few days. My parents drove up from Southern California in August and the lot of us jumped into one car and headed north up the Oregon Coast. We searched for agates on a beach we'd never visited, hiked the path to the Heceta Head Lighthouse, and visited the Newport Aquarium. We had a wonderful time.

Now that I think of it, I guess I didn't spend most of my summer at work.

All in all, I had a great summer vacation.

The End.


So, what do you think about my report? I'll get a gold star for sure, right? Alia's teacher should be impressed.

If not, I have a backup plan: box tops.

I've collected nearly 100 General Mills box tops, many of which were donated by readers who responded to my recent column (thank you, and keep 'em coming). Gathered in great numbers, the box tops can be redeemed for cash to buy much-needed classroom equipment and supplies for Kalmiopsis Elementary School.

If the box tops don't impress the teacher, there's always back up plan No. 2: a shiny, red apple.

Teacher's pet?

You bet!