At the Helm: Gearing up for summertime
Written by Scott Graves, Pilot staff writer   
May 18, 2012 08:56 pm

Mowing the lawn. Trimming trees. Power-washing the outdoor furniture. Repairing the deck. Fixing the backyard fence. Washing the camping trailer. Cutting back the blackberry branches. ...

Wait a second!

What about digging out the kites. Finding the swim goggles. Dusting off the kayaks. Buying a new pair of flip-flops. Buying sunscreen. Cleaning up the barbecue. Sleeping in.  ...

May is an exciting time as the days get warmer and the sun hangs in the sky longer. It’s also when my “honey-do” list becomes a mile long. 

I’m not alone. All week long I spotted folks in town taking advantage of the warm, dry weather to work in the yard, make repairs and get ready to enjoy the outdoors. 

My challenge is, to balance the things on the honey-do list with fun summer activities. After all, all work and no play makes Scott a dull boy.

Summer is a magical time – an ageless time – that evokes a kaleidoscope of images, emotions and memories.

I’m 44 now, but the child within me gleefully anticipates the approach of summer and its promise of long, sunlight days, backyard barbecues, river swims and late night stargazing.

Yes, gone are the carefree summer days of my early youth, replaced by work commitments and the responsibilities that come with being a husband and father. But the day the magic of summertime loses its grip on my soul is the day they seal the lid on my coffin.

I spent my childhood in Southern California, where summer temperatures hovered around the 100 degree mark. Tank tops and shorts were the usual dress code and outdoor activities focused on swimming, running through sprinklers, riding bikes, selling lemonade, matinee movies in icy cold theaters, and trips to the beach. The neighborhood bustled with kids on bicycles and skateboards, playing ball in the streets, and games of hide and seek that continued long past the time the street lights came on.

Today, I live on the Southern Oregon Coast, where  summertime activities may differ, but the feelings are the same. 

This week, looking out the window of the Pilot office, I spotted children and grown ups walking down the street and wearing shorts, skirts, short sleeves and tank tops.

The smiles on their face hint at the inner excitement stirred by the approach of Memorial Day weekend, and the end of school on June 14. 

The anticipation must be unbearable for the children. It was for me. I remember sitting in class on the last day of school, constantly checking the clock behind the teacher’s desk, willing the minute hand to move faster until the final bell joyously yelled out “Summertime!”

These days, for me, the school clock has been replaced with a calendar and a 3-day event known as Memorial Day weekend.

For those who haven’t lost touch with their inner child,  this weekend has become the official start of summer, a nationwide excuse to stoke up the barbecues and head upriver, to the beach or into the forest.

The community of Brookings-Harbor helps stoke the fires of summer by holding the annual Azalea Festival next weekend. With a parade, street fair, barbecues and a concert in the park, it’s nearly impossible not to catch the summertime bug.

With our wild rivers, beautiful beaches, nearby forests,  busy ports and events, there’s something to satisfy the kid inside each and every one of us.

Go outside and play!