Mannix About Manatee: June 23, 2013: Recalling endless summer of youth

June 23, 2013 

Three barefoot boys are sitting on a fence in the shade of a big tree and the farmland beyond is veiled in a light haze.

It could be Myakka City.

Or Duette.

It's Lancaster, Pa.

A few years ago, Sherri and I were driving through Amish country, saw the lads and stopped to take a picture.

Then we lingered awhile and gazed at the scene and its surroundings.

It was a mesmerizing snapshot of summer.

A wistful glimpse at those carefree days of our own youth when school was out, summer truly seemed endless and Labor Day was far, far away.

Summer's official arrival last Friday, punctuated by the rising of Sunday's "Super Moon," brings back those feelings.

I also get that same sensation when I drive by quiet Kinnan Elementary School every morning on the way to work.

The message on the marquee never fails to make me smile:

"Have A Safe Summer."

When temperatures begin to soar in May, we invariably say, Oh, yeah, summer is here.

Yet somehow when the calendar hits June 21, there's a different mindset.

Summer vacation is right around the corner.

Even if it's only going to be for a couple of weeks, it's pleasant to think about when you're grinding away at work. Or you're stuck mowing your lawn under the hot sun.

Which is every weekend.

Can I get an amen?

My brothers rent one place, we rent another nearby.

One sister-in-law keeps a regular countdown going on. We'll be headed north in July for our family vacation in Surf City, N.J., an annual event with the Mannix tribe for more than 20 years now.


It's funny.

I've visited the Jersey Shore more as an adult

living in Florida than I did when I was a kid growing up in North Jersey.

Going down to the shore seemed like a long journey and just for families with money.

That wasn't us.

Besides we had the lakes and were happy with that.

But if I was lucky enough to be invited by a friend to join their family for a weekend at their place in Point Pleasant?

Wow! It was a big deal.

I felt like I was going to California.

Otherwise I hitchhiked everywhere.

Especially during the summer.

I can still remember grabbing my baseball glove -- 1965 American League MVP Zoilo Versailles model -- and bumming rides to a sandlot game in another township.

No diamond was too far.

Or too humble.

Those ballfields didn't remotely resemble the ones we have around town at G.T. Bray park, Braden River or Lakewood Ranch, either.

We're talking sun-parched dirt.

Sound familiar?

It didn't matter to us back then.

They were the ballfields of our youth, now snapshots of summer from long, long ago.

Mannix About Manatee, by columnist Vin Mannix, is about people and issues in Manatee County. Call Vin at 941-745-7055. Twitter: @vinmannix.

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