Snow Cones and Summer Fun
My mother-in-law is obsessed with snow cone stands, to a disturbingly manic degree. Prior to my summer road trips with her, I had not so much as even glanced twice at any of the obnoxiously colorful, dilapidated little shacks that line most small country roads in the summer. At first, I will even admit I was quite perturbed by her insistence on these frequent pit stops that so inconveniently delayed our arrival times.
However, her excitement was unfortunately contagious and I soon grudgingly found myself almost intrigued by fantastic flavors like “Fuzzy Navel” and “Tiger’s Blood”—and even began to enjoy our conversations with the famously cheery, laid back manner of people who usually ran the stands. Although alarmingly cliché, I began to learn from my mother-in-law that the joys of life are not wrapped up in an agenda or a destination, but are more often found lining the roadways of the journey.
Now, every summer, my goal is to delight in the simple—to find joy in small things. I find if you do that, it won’t matter that you’ve never been able to bathe in the sun of an exotic paradise, or escape to a snow laden mountain resort, for you’ve learned the invaluable art of vacationing in the ordinary.
Take time this summer to stop and spend time at the unique places, and with the special people around you that you’ve never noticed before. You will discover you don’t have to search hard to find character in the mundane and intrigue in the ordinary. This is the stuff memories are made of. You don’t have to get away to make a way for the carefree fun and giddy sense of freedom every summer should hold. However, if you’re searching for a few new ideas to spontaneously spice up your summer, here a few I’ve come up with.
- Water limbo Grab a couple of water hoses and some friends. Poke a few holes in them (the water hoses, not your friends). Turn up the water and let the limbo fun begin!
- Ice block skiing I recently heard of a summer activity called ice block skiing. Disclaimer: This is probably not the safest of summer activities, but it sounds like a blast. If you have access to some decent sized blocks of ice and a hill, slide till your heart’s content!
- Super Soakers and water balloons Stock up on some good old-fashioned Super Soakers and water balloons. Be on the lookout for every unexpected opportunity to attack your friends and family and commence epic water wars for the history books.
- Hammock Throw a hammock in your backyard, crank up your favorite summer tunes, and swing a little. You can find hammocks online or at many of your local stores. You’ll be surprised at what a great escape your own backyard can be.
- Lemonade stands These are now a vintage idea, but they create priceless opportunities to create some friendly banter with your neighbors and foster a great sense of community. A couple of students from our group set up a stand this summer and raised a pretty significant amount for tsunami relief in Japan.
- Wacky sleepovers Last summer, the girls in our student group had a wacky fashion show and hair contest, complete with a finale’ runway walk at Wal-Mart. The Wal-Mart shoppers got a big kick out of it and we got some pretty awesome pictures!
These are just a few of the many ways to liven up some lazy summer days, but ultimately your summer is what you make of it. So, pack it with as many unforgettable moments as it will hold and watch the memories you make forever spill over into your life and future.