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Summer Vacations

The Guideposts editor-in-chief reflects on what summer means to him.

I’ve lived through more summers than I care to reveal at this point in my life yet each one seems to have a distinct character of its own. Everyone gets younger in the summer. That’s just a fact.

It’s hard to feel your age when you’re hanging around in shorts, T-shirts and flip-flops, firing up the grill, playing hooky and stretching out in the bleachers of your favorite ball park hot dog in hand, or just swinging gently in the old hammock slung between two friendly ash trees reading a book you hope will never end.    

When I was a kid my family always rented a house down at the Jersey Shore in a little town called Stone Harbor. We’d spend July and August there (my father commuted to his job in Philly).

Those summers blur into a mosaic memory of crazy eights, miniature golf, fireworks, cotton candy on the beach that would stick to your face, and the inevitable sunburn. Nighttime was for baseball on a staticky radio, adventures on (and sometimes under) the boardwalk, and maybe getting to stay up late and watch Johnny Carson, a true rite of passage at the time.

Sometimes a storm would sweep in off the ocean, lightning igniting the sea horizon and I’d watch the first heavy drops make craters in the sand as the thunder rolled up like the waves. The power might go out and then we’d have to break out the candles and flashlights, which we’d point at each other at inopportune times. 

I’ve posted some pictures with this blog from those days—one of me and my brother Bobby playing on a raft, another of us displaying a fish we somehow came in possession of, and the other of the whole Grinnan clan that my dad took on the beach. 

There is something ineffable about summer, some wonderful universal quality that everyone recognizes but that’s hard to express because it reaches so deep into our psyches. Summer is for the body to relax and the mind to play. But summer is also for the soul. To rejuvenate. To connect. To be young. 

Edward Grinnan is Editor-in-Chief and Vice President of GUIDEPOSTS Publications.

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