One day late that summer, Zach came home to a surprise. Instead of Mrs. D in the kitchen making him lunch it was his Mom. He ran over to her and gave her a hug. “Mom what are you doing here.
“Well right now I am making you lunch” she said smiling. She turned around and produced a peanut butter and jelly sandwich as is if by magic, “And when your done we are going to mall and shop for new school clothes. School begins in a couple of weeks.”
Zach was super surprised. He was having such a wonderful time this summer that school had completely slipped his mind. The thought of summer ending seemed like the most terrible thing in the world to him. He loved these long hot days of endless exploration and constant adventure. The thought of being trapped in a school room, no matter how much fun he could have there, filled him dread.
“Zach, whats wrong? You have hardly touched your sandwich and we have to get going. Didn’t I make it the way you like it?”
He didn’t answer her question. Instead he took a bite of the sandwich. It had no flavor. He didn’t even detect that his mother had used smooth Skippy instead of crunchy. Normally that would have created quite the hub bub but instead Zach just dully bit into his sandwich bite after bite until all that was left was a few crumbs and a couple of dots of leaked jam. When he looked up he saw Mom staring at him, with her “spill it buster” look on her face. Looking down at his plate, he mumbled.
Zach’s Mom smiled and said “Zachie all things have to come to an end honey. If Summer didn’t end, then the fall wouldn’t come. Then you wouldn’t be able to drink apple cider or go pumpkin picking. Just think of all the candy you would miss at Halloween if we did not have a fall. Now finish your milk and go wash your hands there is peanut butter all over them. Lets get going buddy.”
Zach did what he was told .He thought seriously about what his mother had told him as he walked to and then climbed into the back seat of their Jeep. After they had driven for a moment or two he said somewhat petulantly “ I don’t care about any of that fall stuff. Summer beats it hands down. I wouldn’t even miss Halloween. I would save my money and go to Caties whenever I wanted to.”
He could see his Mom’s eyes smile in the rear view mirror. She said “Zach if summer never ended then you would never go to school. And if you want to be a world famous explorer you have to go to school. You have learn about geography so you know where to go, and you have to learn math so you can figure out how to get there and learn foreign language so you can speak to people when you get to where you want to go.”
As Zach thought about what his mother had said she pulled into the mall parking lot. He had completely forgotten that they were going shopping for school clothes. This served to distract Zach completely from the subject at hand. He hated clothes shopping. He hated the way that everyone seem to prod him, measuring this that and the other thing. To make matters worse his mother insisted he try everything on and his mother seemed to bring everything in the store for him to try. The clothes were always stiff, smelled funny and made his skin itch…and just when he though it was all over his mother would take to him to another store to try on more stuff. After a summer of wearing nothing but shorts, t-shirts and sneakers, it was torture.
Three hours later an over-prodded and over tired boy climbed back into their car. It had not been a good afternoon, and even the bribe of an ice cream cone, did little to lift his spirits. He decided that he needed to talk to someone else about the end of Summer….someone who was smart enough to help him figure out a way around this problem. He decided that he needed to talk to his Grandpa.
When he got to Pop Pop’s house he found him sitting on the front porch sitting in his favorite chair reading a book. At least he said he was reading a book. Zach could of sworn that he had a snore just as he was walking up the steps. “Hey little buddy! To what do I owe the honor of this unexpected visit.”
Zach explained the problem to him. He told his Grandpa how he had been surprised that Summer was almost over. He did not think that it was fair that it had to end and that he was trying to figure out a way to make it last a little bit longer. When he had finished explaining the situation to Pops he was pretty worked up. If had not been such a big boy some people might have even mistaken the wetness on his cheeks for tears.
Pop Pop smiled at Zach and motioned to him to come sit in his lap. He put his arm around him, smiled and said “Summer is pretty terrific isn’t Zach. What is your favorite part of Summer?”
“Oh Pops I love it all. I love the fact that you don’t have to wear a lot of clothes. I love the fact that it is warm all the time. I love going to camp and learning to swim and shooting bows and arrows. I love exploring the woods with my friends. I love the fort we built.” He paused for breath and gushed on “I love Mrs. D’s fried bologna sandwiches and the stories she tells me. I love learning to play chess with you and the books you read me. I love going to Caties and buying ice cream or candy. I love playing in the brook and getting muddy and dirty. I love eating on the back porch with Mom and Dad. I love playing capture the flag and catching fire flies. I love sneaking out with Dad and getting an ice cream cone when I have already had one that day. I love the way the night smells and the sounds crickets make at nights and I love falling asleep with the window open and waking up and doing it all over again.”
His Grandpa chuckled and said, “Wow that is a whole lot of love Zach. Let me ask you a question though. Do you think that you will ever forget any of those things that you love?”
Without any hesitation Zach said “Of course I won’t.”
“Then how can summer ever really be over if you always remember it?”
Zach thought for a minute and said “Pops, what do people do to remember things”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, I know that I will always remember what I did this summer and all the fun that I had but you know that sometimes you sort of forget stuff and you have to be reminded. You know like in school when you are trying to remember how to spell a word and the teacher gives you a letter or two and then you can remember the whole thing. So what do people do when they try to remember things like the things that they have done?”
Zach’s Grandpa thought for a second and said “Well I suspect that depends on the person. Some people like to write their memories down…like the stories I read you so that re-read them later and remember what it was like. Other people take pictures of things and put them in photo albums that they could look at later. You know that your grandmother used to like make scrapbooks and put little odds and ends from the adventures we have in it and that way we would have little pieces of our memories with us for as long as we cared to look at them.” He paused and began again “And if the memories are really really important some people create museums like the Natural History Museum I took you to in New York…..”
In a flash Zach was out of his Grandpa’s lap and flying down the stairs. “Thanks Pops. You have given me a great idea.”