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Summer Vacation Memories are Free


As my husband, my brothers, and I leave for our summer vacation today, I can’t help but remember some of the best summers of my life growing up. My brothers and I have always been close friends – and always up to no good.

When my brothers (John & Mike) and I were 13 and 15, one of my dad’s oh so responsible employees showed us how to build a potato gun – because everyone knows the combination of pipe, potatoes, a bottle of WD-40, and a flame tool are landmark in safety and you should share them with teenagers.

We spent our afternoons launching the potatoes into targets… *cough* the pool deck… *cough* the new trees… *cough* the house siding… (sorry ‘bout those dents dad)

On a particularly hot day, John filled the chamber up with a combination of Rave hairspray and WD-40. The fumes filled the air as he quickly spun the cap on and pulled out the matches. He touched the flame to the side and a loud BOOM exploded into our ears. Mike and I looked down to see John on his back, his shoes smoldering, and the lawn burst into flames.

He hadn’t spun the cap on tightly and instead of launching the potato, the force rocketed the cap and the flame onto John’s shoed feet.

Responsibly… Mike and I laughed hysterically at John.

We laughed so hard, we overlooked the fact that the lawn was still on fire. About 60 seconds of laughing at John’s smoldering blackened shoes went by before we suddenly became aware that the fire was growing. If mom saw the fire, she’d never let us shoot another potato again (though I’m not sure she ever truly ‘approved’ it in the first place).

Mike ran for the hose while John stomped out what he could.

Fortunately they got the fire out (hence the reason they are such good firefighters… they started young) but there was still a huge problem…

There was a black spot of charred lawn directly in front of the screen door that mom surely wouldn’t miss. We couldn’t think of a believable story for the burn spot and we certainly weren’t going to tell the truth sooooo…

We dug out the lawn, tossed it across the fence, threw on some fresh dirt, then went inside and told mom the dogs had dug a patch of the lawn.

As for John’s shoes? ‘Pssshhh. Mom, that’s a fashion statement. Don’t you know style?!?!’

My best summer vacation memories were never about where we stayed or what kind of expensive things my parents bought, they were always about the fun times with my family.

Sure, we aren’t going somewhere nice this year, but we’re going together – and that’s the best part.


  • Reply mom |

    The one thing about being a parent is the fact that you never stop learning when it comes to your children. Now that all of my little darlings have ‘grown up’ (?) and have moved out, all of them have started spilling their guts out about events that happened in their past while growing up. It has been amazing as to what I have learned in regards to past deeds. I have to admit however, that none of them would be alive today to make these confessions if I had known then, what I know now. And (dog gone it) I can’t even catch them any more. They used to run when they would get caught doing something that they knew that they shouldn’t be doing. No problem here as I could always catch them. Now……… forget it…. they can just run.

    Side note: Children, if you think that these confessions are going to give you brownie points as far as heaven is concerned…. forget it…. And don’t forget….. I’ll get there first. And on top of that, I’ll have a new body….. I’ll be waiting.

  • Reply Tabitha |

    Beks, your mom is awesome.

    My husband and his friend were playing with a potato gun and it exploded! Knocked ’em both flat on their butts and cut them up pretty bad. The boom was heard a mile away.


  • Reply Family Man |

    Excellent posts. Some of my best memories of summer with the kids, has nothing to do with going somewhere. My 15 month old has discovered his little backyard pool, and my 10 year old has his best buddy on the block. Those are memories they and I will treasure forever.

  • Reply Matt |

    That was a great story – I’ve got a few of my own that would make a few parents cringe. Now that I too am a parent I have to remember its not about where you stay and what you eat but about the experiences and fun you have along the way.

  • Reply Nicole(The Fitness Freak) |

    Oh no! I have three boys, is this what I have to look forward to? 🙂

  • Reply emmi |

    Your description is just as good as a youtube video. Actually better. Thanks for the laugh.

  • Reply AJ |

    Enjoy being with your family even though you arent going anywhere special. I kind of miss my family. 🙁

  • Reply mom |

    I have to tell you MoneyFunk, I did NOT know back then. Our poor dogs got into real trouble for digging up my husband’s precious lawn. But like I said, my darlings have been in a confession mode these last few years and I have found out a lot of things…… some I’m not sure if I really wanted to know…. 😉 and I’m sure there are a lot of things left out…. which is probably a good thing! But one thing is for sure… we have laughed a lot… and you know what they say about laughter. I am a blessed woman…. my little darlings will always be just that… my little darlings.

  • Reply mom |

    Oh… and by the way Fitness Freak Nicole, I love your web page and yes… I can’t wait to hear your stories.

  • Reply CLF |

    Yeah….those summers lasted FOREVER. If we could only slow them down now. What’s freaky is that all of these summers in the 40s and 50s are even faster than the ones in the 20s and 30s.

    Problem is the only way to slow them down is to get bored – and who wants that.

    Good work by the way.

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