For about nine months, students all around the country, including me, sit at school desks and wait for a break known as summer. For three short, sweet months, we trade in hours of school and homework for hours of swimming, fishing, camping and spending time with friends.
After an extremely short and bittersweet senior year of high school for me and my classmates, the summer of 2013 is finally here!
This summer will be an especially important one for me; in less than 80 days, I will be living five hours away from my hometown. This summer is most likely the last full season I will spend with my family and friends here in Hillsboro.
Next summer I will still live in Missouri in order to gain residency and the next two summers I will be studying overseas or interning in New York City (hopefully).
My first column last August was about the amazing, adventurous summer I had last year. This year, my summer itinerary does not include big trips to New York City or Indiana. Instead, it will include small things that make summer special.
The following list is a few items and locations that have made summer what it is to me. In fact, I call them my “Five Secrets to a Great Summer.”
1. State track. The beginning of summer would not be complete without a weekend at the state track meet in Wichita. My family and I started going to the meet to watch my cousins several years ago, and now we go each year to support my classmates.
There are always so many amazing high school athletes at the event, especially since the meet is for all classes of schools in Kansas. State track is a really fun way to spend a late weekend in May and provides a great opportunity to stop at the mall and buy some summer clothes before leaving Wichita.
2. Hobo dinners and peanut butter s’mores. Actually, camping in general is a must for a “great summer,” but in order to make it truly great, every camping trip needs to include those two items.
For those unfamiliar with hobo dinners, allow me to introduce you to the greatest camping meal ever made. There is no specific recipe for hobo dinners—you simply wrap whatever meat or vegetables you prefer in tinfoil and cook it above a campfire for a few minutes.
My typical hobo dinner includes ground beef, potato slices, corn, green beans and ketchup.
After the hobo dinners are all gone, my family’s traditional camping dessert is a classic treat with a special ingredient. Despite being incredibly sticky and messy, s’mores are delicious: gooey melted marshmallow and chocolate smashed between two crunchy graham crackers.
But, add a layer of creamy peanut butter between the chocolate and graham cracker, and s’mores go from delicious to a treat straight from heaven.
3. Druber’s. Believe it or not, the first time I went to Druber’s Donut Shop was only last summer. I am quite ashamed of that fact, but since then, I, along with my tennis teammates, have become a frequent customer.
Druber’s is in downtown Newton and is open all night. A trip to Druber’s is usually accompanied with a movie marathon or Wal-Mart run. When my friends and I are feeling particularly musical, we can be heard belting the soundtrack of “Les Miserables” all the way to Newton.
4. The Igloo. I am pretty sure every citizen of Hillsboro is a fan of this place. Snow cones from the Igloo might possibly be the thing I’ll miss the most when I move away. After all, summer would not be summer without weekly trips to the Igloo.
For awhile, the only flavor of snow cone I ordered was Mai Tai. But now that they no longer offer that flavor, I have been forced to try some new ones and have been introduced to a whole new world of great flavors.
5. Family and friends. While the four items listed above make summer unforgettable, the most important part of the break is spending time with family and friends.
State track would be boring if I didn’t have friends to cheer on. Camping would be no fun without a big group of family and friends to sit around the campfire with. The drive to Druber’s would be lonely without the laughter of some of my best friends. And the Igloo would just be a simple snow cone shack if it didn’t include so many memories with some pretty great people.
As my permanent time in Hillsboro comes to an end, I will spend the last few months enjoying these small things that will make summer special and the people who will make it hard to leave in August.