Now, if you are anywhere near my age, and listened to The Cars when you were in your teens, you might get that little play on the title there…If not…well, you might have some research to do. Hint: Magic.

Some people say the Beach Boys remind them of summer, others might think Black-Eyed Peas or Alice in Chains. I think it all depends on your musical tastes and what you enjoy listening to when you’re outside barb-b-queing or laying on the sand, frying at your favorite beach. For me, it’s different periods of my life that are linked to certain music and what summer it reminds me of. Point in case, Neil Diamond reminds me of my childhood summers. We lived down the street from this family who my parents were best friends with (they were probably a good ten years younger than my parents) but the act of just burning trash in built in fire pit in the backyard at either house, often evolved into a block party. To this day I can’t hear Sweet Caroline or I Am I Said, without feeling a bit nostalgic for hot, Michigan days and cool nights. Of grilling hotdogs with a metal stick over the open flames and playing with sparklers when it wasn’t even the Fourth of July.

Ah, those carefree days are long gone. The knowledge of knowing you had absolutely nothing to do but what your imagination might conjure kept you going for that three month period and straight into Labor Day. Damn, we had it good as kids.

In high school, I started putting my summers to better use and worked at an amusement park. What a great first job for teenager. There were some days I couldn’t wait to get to work. All my friends worked they and it was so much fun…I think everyone should enjoy their job that much. Rock music played all through the park, piped in from the owner’s office overlooking the midway. Generally the day kicked off with Rush’s Spirit of the Radio or the Motels Only the Lonely. To this day the smell of fair food mixed with the calliope of a merry-go-round takes me back to those sweet days. Every summer the workers of the two amusement parks that used to be in my hometown get together for what they call the Non-reunion Reunion. I only learned about it last year. Much to my surprise my old friends of Panama City Beach had been trying to locate me for a long time. It took the modern miracle of Facebook for them to finally catch up with me. And though I will not be able to attend the reunion, I am very glad they found me.

During college, my summers were chiefly spent at the beach (when you can roll out of bed and hit the Gulf of Mexico, this is not that much of a hardship) and waiting tables. Life was good. I was young and wild and free …so the song goes…and enjoyed every moment of squeezing out life in any way I could. Life seemed an endless summer back then…*sigh*

It’s been a long time since summer has represented more for me than the opportunity to drive to work unfettered by the horrible Jersey snowstorm. Something happens when we pass from carefree youth to responsible adult: the summers seem to get shorter, the opportunities for fun fewer. You become so bogged down in the everyday that beforeĀ  you know it, autumn has come and you still haven’t gotten together with your closest friends to have that cookout you discussed two years ago Christmas. And the music…it all starts sounding the same…

To that I saw…Take back the season!!!

You’ve worked long and hard to get where you are…why not reap the rewards of a life well-lived? Why wallow in complacency when you can bask in sunshine of renewal. Midsummer isn’t just a time of year when the day is longest…it is the day of greatest power. Take of your shoes and run through the grass barefoot. Catch fireflies in a jar or watch them dance like tiny fairies over your yard. Hang some Chinese lanterns in your yard and grill out after dark and listen to the night birds. Run through a sprinkler or douse your mate with a garden hose. Do all those things you loved as a child, but thought you were too old to enjoy as an adult.

You are never too old to enjoy the summer. This year…make your own music.

-MK Mancos/Kathleen Scott