The official start of summer is still a couple of weeks away. But some in the Inland Northwest have their to-do lists ready and waiting for the season.
“Build a chicken coop and get chickens,” said Rick Hosmer, a creative director at a Spokane advertising and design agency.
“Get fewer freckles than last year,” said Lani Caraway, a West Central resident whose family plans to host a lot of barbecues and “Bad Poetry” nights.
OK, we all know that making a plan does not guarantee the intended results. And you might not want to approach the most recreation-focused time of year as if you were prioritizing chores.
Still, it’s June. We’re thinking about summer. So it’s fair to ask.
What do Spokane area residents hope to accomplish or experience between now and autumn? When summer is over, how will people determine whether the season was a success?
Arlie Bacon is an excavating contractor and truck driver. His wife, Debbie, is a pet groomer. They live about 10 miles north of Newport.
Their plan is an American classic: They want to put as many miles as they can on their big Boss Hoss motorcycle.
“Going places we have not yet been,” said Arlie.
Lind math teacher Thomas Pulliam has several undertakings in mind.
“Read a few books about math, and run the Benge grain elevator during harvest time,” he said. “Hopefully paint my house, too.”
Whitworth University history professor Arlin Migliazzo plans to visit friends and family in several states and do research for a writing project.
Coeur d’Alene’s Karen Cecil intends to finish organizing her basement. “Boring, but it’s something that has been bugging me,” she said.
That’s the thing about real life. Often it doesn’t resemble a pivotal scene in a date-night movie or find itself propelled forward by a throbbing soundtrack. Even at this time of year.
But isn’t summer supposed to be the season of romance and adventure?
Maybe you have to be a certain age.
Spokane’s Faith Masiello turns 15 this summer. She’s looking forward to that birthday.
“All my friends are already 15!” she said in an e-mail.
What else? “A two-week long sewing camp,” she said. “I’m pretty excited for this one because at the end of the camp, I get a free sewing machine!”
Which isn’t to suggest that she might not also meet some cute-but-shy teen clean-water activist who finally summons the nerve to tell Faith that the thing that makes her smile so pretty is the bright light shining in her heart. Or something.
But you see what’s going on here, don’t you? Let’s face it. Inland Northwesterners have their feet firmly planted on the ground.
Declaring in the first week of June that we are going to have the most mind-blowing, life-altering summer ever just isn’t our style.
“Magic” isn’t something you jot down on a list. Moments just happen.
You can’t really set out to be moved by the bruised color of a wind-blown lake on an overcast day. You can’t plan ahead to have the dank smell of wet swimsuits mark a place and time in your memory.
It’s not so simple as going to the first line on your sheet of paper and writing “Experience summer’s many moods.”
You need to be prepared to look and listen.
“There is nothing like spending hours lingering outside on a warm summer night, talking and laughing until all the stars are out,” said Chris Bishop, a freelance graphic artist in Blanchard, Idaho.
Jessica Diettrich, a 27-year-old surgical technologist at a Spokane hospital, recalls many great summers. There were extended-family visits, cross-country trips, camping at national parks.
Some of it has become a happy blur in her rear-view mirror. But a few of those times, she said, “I’ll never forget.”
This summer she and her husband plan to take a 10-day, 2,200-mile road trip. Perhaps there will be some keeper mental snapshots along the way.
Spokane’s Mike Carlson, a restorer of vintage cars, has undergone treatment for two kinds of cancer in recent years. The experience has bolstered his resolve to devote the summer to what really matters.
“I don’t want to be too busy for what means the most: spending time making memories with family and friends,” he said.
Can’t argue with that.
Retired Spokane educators Emmett and Marylu Arndt have good books, bird-watching and other pursuits on their agenda.
But one prospect really makes them smile. “We will see our first grandson grow and play in his first summer,” said Emmett.
Would be fun to know what’s on that kid’s to-do list.
The Arndts are about to find out.