Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal

What Summer Means To Me

Bill Fullerton


Summer means no school.

Summer means having to mow your yard instead of going fishing or swimming. And to make matters worse, my tightwad father don't hardly pay me a thing for all that work. He claims riding around on a John Deere for a couple of hours isn't some kind of cruel and unusual punishment. And he also says he won't pay me time-and-a-half for hazardous duty. Someday I’m going to turn him in to the Federal Wage and Hour people like that ad I saw on TV said to do.

Summer means fishing with the other guys, whenever I can sneak off that danged John Deere. Most of the time I go fishing with just Freddie and Mike, but sometimes Mike's kid brother Jerry tags along. He's a real pest, if you know what I mean.

Jerry is an okay kid I guess, but like I said, he can be a real pest. Like when he scares all the fish by kicking the bait bucket or when he falls into the pond, accidentally on purpose. To tell you the truth, his falling in the pond is not that bad a deal. You see, then we all have a good excuse to jump in, clothes and all, to save him.

Then when we get home and our Moms start yelling about getting our clothes wet, we can tell them the gospel truth, that we were just trying to save poor little Jerry from drowning to death in the pond. Boy, if they ever find out Jerry swims like a fish, they'll kill us all.

Summer means swimming. Sometimes we swim in the pool in Bob's backyard. That's okay, except Bob's folks never want you to play King of the Hill on top of the diving board or Bull-a-Gator tag in the pool. It also means having to be careful whenever you go into Bob's house so his Mom won't get mad at you for tracking in water or making some other mess.

Swimming in the pond is more fun. The only problem is nobody's parents want them swimming in the pond on account of how they're afraid we'll all drown or something. So we always have to stop at the filling station and rinse all the mud off before we go home.

Summer means playing baseball, and playing baseball, and then playing some more baseball. Most of us don't really care for it that much, what with all the rules and coaches and umpires and all. But for some reason, our parents seem to get a kick out of the whole thing.

All summer long they keep coming to game after game after game. And about all they do is sit in lawn chairs and talk to one another while swatting at mosquitoes and sweating like a bunch of rushing racehorses. Maybe they keep coming because they enjoy yelling at the coaches and umpires. They also do a lot of that.

Summer means there's nothing to watch on TV except for reruns. There's also the Atlanta Braves and the Chicago Cubs, or even worse (if that's possible), golf. But personally, I'd rather watch the reruns.

My father took me with him one time when he went to play golf. There's only one word for that game, BORING! I mean, all that happens is a bunch of grown-ups hit a ball, ride after it a long ways, and then hit it again. It was fun getting to drive the golf cart, but when it comes to the game, who cares?

As for the Braves and the Cubs, well as the girls say, gag me with a spoon. The Cubs are all losers, except for Sammy Sosa, and the Braves are even worse.

Sometimes my father gets me to watch a real baseball game with him, like say the Dodgers against the Giants. That's not too bad. Dad's no pro, but he seems to know a thing or two about baseball. And it's kinda fun sitting with him, drinking Cokes and talking baseball, even if he does keep kidding around and calling the teams the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants.

But usually before the game is over, Mike or Freddie have come over, maybe with Bob and Jerry, and I tell Dad I want to go with them. Dad always says it's okay to leave, but sometimes it seems like he gets this funny, kinda sad look on his face.

Summer means no school.

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Bill Fullerton has a B.S. from LSU, a Master's degree in history from Louisiana Tech and a Purple Heart from Vietnam. His fiction has appeared in several publications, including: USADeepSouth, DeadMule.com, and Rose and Thorn. Currently living in Dallas, he's just finished his second novel, We Danced to Ray Charles. Read an excerpt.

© Bill Fullerton

Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal ISSN 1554-8449, Copyright © 2004-2012