Summer Is Winding Down

There is no doubt about it summer is winding down. Once the fair is finished the teams begin to practice for fall sports. College students pack up their things and leave for college. This year two of my grandchildren will take off for college. The other grandson will be playing soccer on the high school level.

It seems like there is so much to do to get everyone ready. First, I have to get my camper from the fairgrounds. Then, I have to empty the laundry and the refrigerator in it. While I love camping, it is a chore to get things straightened out again.

Did I mention that school starts in a couple weeks? At least I no longer have to get a classroom ready. One year my husband decided to take his mother to Virginia to visit her sister just before school started. I returned home just in time to go to school on the first day. That year I prepared my room well in advance so that I would be ready.

We had so much fun at Edna’s place in Virginia. We visited many area landmarks as well as just relaxed and visited on her ample porch. Edna took advantage of my husband being there to take a walk up on her hill. They were gone ever so long that my mother-in-law and I wondered what happened to them. I believe that was probably her last walk up there.

I remember the day when my children were leaving for college. My son took some of his stuff, but my daughter took everything she owned I think. Girls are like that. My son was able to stay in the dorm for the three years he was at Penn State. Now days it is only possible for the freshman to have dorm rooms and they are very crowded. They cost plenty, too. Even the cost of the meal plan has increased substantially.

Since I attended college in my home town I never had the pleasure of dorm life. I visited in the dorms and sometimes stayed overnight, but I did not live there. I lived at home and commuted to school. It was a lot cheaper, but I really feel that I missed something. You were not truly part of campus life.

I did experience dorm life as an adult. When I attended the 55 Plus Program at Chautauqua, we lived in the dorms. There were four of us to a room with a bathroom between. On one occasion the roommates on the other side were not nice to us. When my roommate left early I found out why. She kept locking them out of the bathroom.

Eventually, I moved to another dorm with private rooms but shared bathrooms. Getting used to a roommate is not easy. Meshing schedules and getting a long was work. I feel sorry for the students who have roommates that they cannot get along with.

Soon students will be entering our schools. These days security is an issue. The thought of sending your children to a safe place is paramount. The world these days is a crazy place. It seems like you may not be safe anywhere.

I found this poem that I want to share with you. Hopefully it will make you think about how you can be that positive force in life.

One tree can start a forest;

One smile can begin a friendship;

One Hand can lift a soul;

One word can frame a goal;

One candle can wipe out darkness;

One laugh can conquer gloom;

One hope can raise our spirits;

One touch can show you care;

One life can make a difference,

Be that one today.

B.J. Gallagher from “Positive Outlooks”

Problems crop up in the most unusual places. People are asking for legislation to control guns. Guns are not the problem. Drugs and attitude are the problem. When I was young I played with cap guns. Never did I think that I would get a real gun and kill someone. My children also were raised with toy guns. They played and ran around shooting each other but they knew it was play. I had to laugh when I taught kindergarten. Of course, guns were not allowed in school, but what could you do about fingers that pointed and shot?

I’d like to think that all of our school are safe. They have instituted safety measures such as locked doors. You have to ask to be let in these days. I only hope that this helps keep our children safe. I cannot fathom the frustration of the families of those who have lost children to gunmen.

Human life has to matter to all of us. No one has the right to snuff out the life of another, no matter what the circumstances. I pray all of the time for our policemen. They lay their lives on the line each and every day to keep us all safe. Imagine going up to one of those cars with the tinted glass. You cannot see who is in the vehicle much less if they have weaponry. It has to be scary. Then there are those domestic violence calls. When the police arrive, they do not know what they are facing. Often liquor and drugs are part of the equation. That is not a good combination.

Stop and say a prayer for all of the teachers and students who will enter our schools this year. Be that one that makes a difference.

Ann Swanson writes from her home in Russell, PA. Contact at