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What do you do in the summertime?

pictured Key West by Eric Dowdle

When I was growing up and doing chores around the house, my Mom would often sing this song:

Oh, what do you do in the summertime, when all the world is green?

Do you fish in a stream, or lazily dream on the banks as the clouds go by?  Is that what you do? So do I.


 Oh, what do you do in the summertime, when all the world is green?

Do you swim in a pool, to keep yourself cool, or swing in a tree up high? Is that what you do? So do I.


Oh, what do you do in the summertime, when all the world is green? 

Do you march in parades, or drink lemonades, or count all the stars in the sky? Is that what you do? So do I.


© 1964 by Dorothy S. Andersen.


This song's melody and imagery drifted softly, hypnotically into my mind and became part of my summer memories, like images from Tom Sawyer's life. I find myself singing it again late every May and through the months that follow.  Summer memories are special. As a school-age child, there is the rich anticipation of planning what escapades would be coming soon to make the perfect summer.  For some people, thoughts of summer vacation that lie ahead bring a subtle smile, and to some, it's a summer job that brought the freedom of a paycheck. But, did you ever imagine, plan, or dream of that one perfect summer? Remember finding "that one" song that would become forever tied to that time? Everyone has memories of long, hot summer days that sometimes seemed as if they would never end but were gone too soon with the dying of August. Not to forget warm summer nights with street games, the piper's call of the ice cream man, cold sodas at a corner convenience store, and sleepovers. Summer was a magical time as a child. What's the old lyric, "Summertime and the living is easy." Yeah, those were the days.

The other day, as I was racing through summer 2021, the thoughts of summers past hit me hard. I can no longer say, "So do I." As we mature, the patterns of life tend to wear ruts into our existence.  We settle into rote living, simply following in the tracks we have worn along our way. So when did the passion for summer become just another season, the cross-over between the second and third quarters? Yes, I realize that things are busier now, but that should not rob one of making new sun-kissed summer memories. Remember, we were robbed of Summer 2020, and it needs to be avenged. So let's go.

Reviewing the lyrics of that song from my youth, I have devised some things to get out of the lost summer rut and establish a new summer groove; the first step is to put on a pair of sunglasses. Good, now that's done, you're on your way. Rediscovering summer does not require a huge investment or a global getaway. It can start by finding an outdoor pool, lake, or river and splashing into the water under the bright sun. If that isn't possible, then run through a sprinkler. Find a lemonade stand and stop for a cup or two of Wyler's (if that even still a thing), Country Time, or a fresh-squeezed lemonade drink.  Put some Otter Pops in your freezer to enjoy and share them (make mine blue raspberry, please) or, better still, use your frozen pop to stir your lemonade, mmmm. Maybe pack a dinner picnic and linger through the sunset until the stars come out.  If you're lucky, you will see a shooting star to wish on. Finally, find a lovely outdoor venue, then catch a concert and actually stand up and dance.

We are already well into this summer, and it is time to go and do. Don't let another one slip by. Let's "Wake Up and…" make more summer memories.  When someone asks, 'What do you do in the summertime?' You can answer, 'Everything,' and when you're in the cold grip of a frigid winter night, you can bask in the warm memories of the summer past and begin planning the perfect activities for the summer to come.  Now, if you'll excuse me, I hear the ice cream truck, and I need to go chase it down.


  • Julie McNamara

    Thanks for the reminder! We’ve gotten so used to being closed in with COVID, we’ve forgotten to start living again, to enjoy this beautiful world!!

  • Barry Trainor

    To one and all ! I am on number five and plan to do more. My wife and I read a lot ,but I also do puzzles of all types and companys. At a very healthy 80 years old I do most of the cooking and all of the playing golf. Be well my friends

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