Student Journalism at San Rafael High School

Off the Leash

Off the Leash

Off the Leash

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Magic Minnesota Summers
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James Rider, Contributor • June 11, 2024

Magic Minnesota Summers

I miss the carefree summers of my youth. I’m saving memories for future generations.
Magic+Minnesota+Summers

The scent of pine and freshly mowed grass filled the humid Minnesota air. The skies were always blue, and the energy was always calm. The constant chirping of birds and cicadas could be heard anywhere and anytime. My greatest memories were formed from my summers spent in Minnesota with my family. The laughter, late nights, and quiet moments, all seemingly and entirely peaceful.

Me and my siblings would travel alone each summer, all four of us. Gosh, it was hectic at times. We hopped on planes back to the place we called home each summer, ready to see our family. We would switch off from my mom’s side of the family to my dad’s side of the family in hopes of seeing everyone within the time we had. We would start at my grandparents house, then later on be dropped off at my aunts house in a different town. Each place is so significant to me and my upbringing.

A couple of miles from town lies a farmhouse, the place that remains in my memory forever. The sun rose early in the mornings and went down late during the night. The mornings brought sounds of the creaking floorboards on the front porch, there were rituals of watching Let’s Make a Deal, and my grandma would whistle a calming tune. My grandmother, a beautiful soul, would greet me each day with a warm smile and a breakfast of my choice. My grandfather, a wise man full of promise, was usually out already, starting his day early. Me and my siblings spent our hot, humid summer days roaming around, exploring the farm fields and cornstalks. We made visits to feed the baby cows out in the pasture and would drive up the road to our cousins house to play some kickball, followed by a lunch my grandma would pack for us. Our nights were spent doing puzzles and playing games, eating ice cream cones from the gas station up the road, and watching movies before bed. The days went by so fast that time slipped through my fingers. I had looked forward to summer each year.

Upon arrival at my aunt’s house, I am greeted by her warm presence, her nickname for me is said out loud and proud, she kisses me on my cheeks, leaving lipstick imprints, and a home-cooked meal is in the oven. I could always tell she missed me and my siblings. She never failed to make us feel loved. Her house was right up the hill from town, with a nice view of the lake, only minutes away from my other grandma’s house.

My cousins, who also lived in town, would come over to my aunts for sleepovers and fun days spent at the community pool. Most of my days looked the same, and I was ok with that. We would go into town in the mornings to get vanilla cappuccinos at the AM-PM gas station (those were my aunt’s favorites), and we would spend the day getting into trouble and jumping on the trampoline. We would go roller skating on Friday nights, make homemade pizzas, and fall asleep watching General Hospital. My jam-packed days all seemed to bleed into one big memory. My memories are strong and passion-filled. I really miss my childhood.

My family members are your typical Midwestern Minnesotans: sweet, comforting, loud, and loyal. There’s nothing better than spending time with the people you love most, especially if they live far away. Each visit brings new stories to tell and new things to reminisce about. If someone were to tell me today that all it would be is a bittersweet memory, I would have told them they were crazy.

My visits became shorter, and our reunions were less frequent. Although we live far away, our bonds are still strong and will live on forever. Family members have passed, and I’ve grown up. I won’t ever be able to relive those moments, but I will always cherish them and the people I’ve had in my life. My summers now are filled with the relentless ticking of time and worries about the future.

When we were kids, we all had a place that brought back all the feelings of childhood, a place that remains in our minds forever. A sanctuary where time stands still and nothing in the world seems to matter. A place of timeless imagination and picture-perfect bliss. Whether this place was a vacation, a park, a house, or a person, we all have some type of vivid memory that seems to have had a huge impact on our lives. Although these places of comfort might not exist anymore, the recollection of that feeling won’t fade. I want my children to feel the love that I had growing up. The sense of community and nature’s surroundings, these experiences have shaped me into the person I am today. I want them to grow up and be thankful for the life that they were given because of the places that they have visited and the bonds they have formed. I want them to create core memories and have passion for their childhood, just like me. That way, when they are older, they can share the stories with their kids, and they will share those stories with their kids, and it will live on forever.

As I reflect back on my childhood, the summers spent in Minnesota were the most memorable months of my life. Even now, as I get older, I find myself looking back at the past, hoping I could relive those moments of carefree nostalgia. We were children, unburdened by worries and fears of what would come next. College and career paths were where we would all move onto next, independence, and life just beginning for us awaits. Although the feeling of nostalgia will never fade, the reminder that every moment is precious should mean something special forever.

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  • N

    NaomiJun 12, 2024 at 6:00 pm

    This is amazing Taylor!! So much colorful language and great description! I really enjoyed reading this

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  • M

    maddiJun 12, 2024 at 5:27 pm

    great

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