THE SIMPLE LIFE: WInding Down, Gearing Up

Trish Morgan
Special to the News Tribune
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The last days of a memorable school year are upon us. It was a year of virtuality and reality, masks, social distancing, disinfecting, and children missing their friends and teachers. There were so many new things, accommodations and concessions we had to adjust to, and many of us are thankful this school year is almost history.

Trish Morgan

Fortunately, my grandchildren adjusted very well to all of school adjustments, but we parents and grandparents took a little longer to get accustomed to laptops, in-home school work and online learning. I was in virtual kindergarten with my granddaughter Ava, while her sophomore brother Kamden had school in his room upstairs. We had two different school study areas set up in our home.

My pre-k grandson Ryder had virtual school at home with his mom, and my oldest granddaughter Aubree had fourth grade school at home with her mom, dad or me. Believe me, my home life changed drastically with all of these changes.

Then, the students were given the green light to start easing back into the school buildings - once again reuniting with their favorite friends and meeting their teachers and staff in person. All of my grandkids were so happy when that day finally came!

Now, here we are - counting down the days to a Memorial Day picnic and then the last day of school. The kids are ready to sleep in a little, and enjoy the days of summer. Nana is too, I tell ya!

This week, I've spent some time looking through a variety of sources to find things to do with the kids. Of course, there won't be planned activities every day, but we are going to develop a slate of favorite things to do and have a summer to remember.

No official vacation this year, but we have plans to take some mini-trips - some on the spur of the moment. We're counting on hot summer weather for backyard swimming. THIS is our main activity; after all, we've waited all year to relax in the pool. Some of our other activities will be ones that cost little or nothing - things like campfires, backyard camping, bike riding, nature hikes, trips to local parks, yard sales, going out for ice cream cones at our favorite haunts, heading to Stephens City for the drive-in, roller skating, picnics, bowling and more.

As for rainy days, we'll pop some popcorn and watch a movie, do arts and crafts (maybe some glow in the dark rock painting), get in the kitchen and bake brownies or cookies, and prepare something easy and delicious for dinner. Most all of us love to color, so that's perfect for rainy days.

We may even "play school" like I used to do when I was a little girl. Someone "plays" teacher and every one else is a student. How I loved doing that! We also have cards and board games. Throw in some snacks and have a fun afternoon!

We're hoping there will be fireworks somewhere this year, too. We'll load up the car, take a few snacks and big blankets, and enjoy the booms and spectacular lights in the sky - one of my favorite things to do. It takes me back to so many memories of long ago when my mom and dad would load all of us up in the station wagon and go to Keyser South End Park for a funnel cake and fireworks. We four kids would get as close to the ropes as we could so we could capture burnt pieces of fireworks. Crazy I know, but what fun for us Cavin kids!! And, let's not forget the sparklers. We brought along our own stash of them. I still love sparklers to this day.

Picnics. I love picnics. It's not about the food, although we always pack up something good to grill. Picnics are times to spend with family and to swim, fish, play games, sit by the fire, play some music and just relax. Fellowship. Enjoy nature. Picnics can be in the backyard, the front yard, at New Germany, Deep Creek Lake, Dan's Mountain, Pleasant Valley or really - anywhere.

The girls want to have a yard sale of well-loved toys, and they want to sell cookies and sno-cones. That's a lot of work for Nana, but these girls are quite enthusiastic about their sale already!

All of the grandkids want to go on a little two-night stay in a motel with a pool, and then go miniature golfing. So, there's that. One place I want to take them is to the largest swimming pool in Pennsylvania - located in Ligonier. That will be lots of fun for them. We will make a day of it, and enjoy the little town of Ligonier.

We won't be doing a lot of travel this summer, and we plan to play and have fun in our own neck of the woods. We'll be frugal as we can, and make do with a lot of imagination. The kids are hoping that Kona Ice comes to Baughman Street White House through the season. I always try a different flavor each time. I'm like a little kid when I hear Kona Ice music! We drop whatever we're doing, and rush out fast so he doesn't miss us. What's your favorite flavor? Me? I love every single one!!

I'm saving money this summer because early fall, I'm going to take a three-day beach vacation. Just me. Time to do what Nana wants to do. Read, write, commune with ocean, sand and moonlight on the beach. I want to have breakfast on the beach at sunrise and dinner at sunset. Early morning hot tea and a toasted bagel, a daily devotion and then rest and relaxation. No agenda, no sight-seeing, no big to-do list. Just winging it, just doing what I want and when I want. Keeping it simple. Fingers crossed.

June 8 is coming - the last day of school and the first day of a memorable summer. How about you? Do you have plans to make Summer of 2021 one to remember? What will you do to make it count?

Please come back next week. I'll be here, God willing. God's blessings, one and all.