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THE BEST SEASON OF ALL
Finally, after a long, drawn- out winter and a cold, rainy spring, summer is starting to show its face around the Hudson Valley. Though I’m too busy to plan any fun trips during the warmer months, I still always appreciate the season. And it always takes me back to my younger days, when summer meant three months of total freedom from school and some of the best times you could ever have as a kid. I distinctly remember the few times my family and I headed out to Cape Cod for vacation. Back then, it wasn’t nearly as busy as it is today, and for a youngster, it was paradise. Mostly, I spent those hours swimming around in the bay and exploring. There was nothing better than wandering around on the beach, hunting for shells while people gathered those blue crabs that were always scuttling around.
Even when we stayed home the whole summer, it was a fantastic time. Back then, we lived in an apartment development with an attached pool, so I was splashing around pretty much every day, trying to beat the heat. We did all the classic pool activities: Marco Polo, diving contests, and of course, the old standby of seeing who could hold their breath under water the longest. Though I don’t think I ever had any illusions about being an MLB pro, I always loved playing in Little League back then. There’s nothing that builds camaraderie like being on a baseball team with a group of your closest friends, cheering each other on as you each go up to bat. They would put me in the outfield, and even when the young batters failed to hit it out to my zone, I never got bored. Back then, kids would be outside all day, from dawn until dusk. It’s funny to think of all the roving gangs of children cruising around on their bikes back then, looking for new adventures and games to play, equipped with that boundless imagination every kid seems to have. It was just impossible to get tired of summer vacation. Years ago, I returned to Cape Cod with my wife for a little family trip after her sister got married. It was amazing to see how the place had changed, with hundreds of tourists flocking to the beautiful beaches to catch some sun and unwind from their stressful lives. But even though it’d gotten much more populous, it was still an incredible place with so much to do. I was struck by those vivid memories from my childhood, those long sunny days with absolutely endless possibilities. Even though these days summer means a lot of house calls rather than hours spent relaxing by the pool, it still carries a special significance for me. –Jim Serra
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