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Eric Douglas: Summer is here -- for the kids, anyway

A week from today, summer begins. At least for the kids in Kanawha County Schools. Putnam County Schools are in session until June 1. (To make things a bit more confusing, most people think of Memorial Day as the beginning of summer, while meteorological summer begins June 1, and astronomical summer begins June 21.)

I’m sure my girls would disagree with me, and I know it’s just a sign of my age, but it feels like this school year just began. Of course, it seems like they were just starting pre-school a couple years ago and now they are in high school.

One of the big pluses for summer’s arrival is there are no school buses on the road and school zone signs will eventually be turned off. Your morning commute is about to get a bit easier.

For parents, the end of the school year means trying to figure out what to do with our kids all summer. When I was growing up, we didn’t take many weeklong vacations. I only remember one beach trip, for example. We did take a lot of long weekends and day trips to parks and such in a three-state area. Shockingly, I don’t feel like this was cruel and unusual punishment, nor do I feel like I was deprived.

For those of us who left school behind years ago, summer is more of a concept than anything else. The weather is nicer, until it is too hot to go outside. Other than that, it is just another season. Most of us take a vacation of some sort in the summer, but it’s never long enough or relaxing enough. It takes me about a day and a half on vacation to relax and then by the last day, I’m already thinking of what I need to do as soon as I get home.

Then, there is the travel itself. Whether you fly or drive to your vacation destination, we usually make the mistake of pushing it to get home. Returning from vacation seems to undo much of the advantage of the break itself.

This summer, we are sort of winging vacations and time away. It may end up being more day trips than anything else. Something tells me, my stress level at the end of summer will be at approximately the same place had we taken a summer trip. It may even be lower.

Eric Douglas, of Pinch, is the author of “Return to Cayman,” “Heart of the Maya,” “Cayman Cowboys,” “River Town” and other novels. He is also a columnist for Scuba Diving Magazine and a former Charleston Newspapers Metro staff writer. For more information, visit or contact him at


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