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Chuck Brooks' column: The time for summer fun is nearly over

What song is playing over and over in my head this weekend?

“The Party’s Over.”

Boy oh boy, is the party ever over. I’ve already taken part in the freshmen orientation evening held August 11. On August 18, our student council members had our annual summer picnic where we discussed the year to come so we could hit the ground running with Homecoming ideas. I’ve been to my classroom to do some preliminary work because when workshop week begins Monday, time alone in our room is a valuable commodity. Yes. The party is definitely over.

Monday morning, we reunite in the performing arts center after a brief social time where everyone tries to get caught up on the lives of friends during the two-plus month hiatus. We shall hear from our principal, go over information that needs to be dispersed right away, and eventually be sent to our rooms to begin the process of saying goodbye to summer and hello to another school year.

I always wonder during workshop week as I’m making lesson plans and preparing my room for student habitation the following Tuesday, What’s in store this year? It’s a logical question. One year is never the same as the previous year. That’s a good thing. And, if the truth be told, when I’m sitting in those “I talk, you listen” meetings, I continue to marvel at how quickly the summer whizzed by, and I evaluate the success of my summer hopes and plans. Let’s see how I did.

I didn’t want to hear the alarm clock all summer. I didn’t. Success in one department.

I wanted to get caught up on some reading. I really had hoped to read in the neighborhood of six to 10 books. That did not happen. I still got reading in and I’m happy about that, so I’ll go half and half in the success department.

I pay for all the premium movie channels through my cable service, so my monthly bill isn’t insignificant. I always want to catch up in the summer on movies I’ve recorded throughout the year. I think I did a decent job of following through with that goal. Viewing time greatly diminishes now.

I wanted to get to Wisconsin at least twice and was hoping for three times this summer, but three times was not meant to be. I did manage to get back to Wisconsin twice, though. When there, I stayed at my sister’s place, as always, in our hometown. She, her husband and I had our share of laughs while I was there. If the Brooks kids know nothing else, they do know how to laugh.

I wanted to hit most of the major films in the theaters this summer. I can honestly say I don’t think there’s a film I missed that I regret not seeing on the big screen. When back in Wisconsin, it would work beautifully while the sister and brother-in-law worked, I’d travel to Madison to catch an early film and still be back in the early afternoon. Best part was the theater was usually empty or at best, scarcely occupied. There’s nothing like having a huge cinema complex to oneself.

I love summers for sitting outside on patios having lunches with friends. It seems each year I get to the end of summer, and I’m regretting not having done much of that behavior for the two-plus months, but this summer, I have to say I managed to get my share of sitting outside. Part of it was because we had a great summer for weather. It was rarely so hot that being outside was not a favorable option. Some of my favorite patios are at Doolittle’s, Granite City, and any Starbucks with tables outside. That’s often where I’d read and write these columns. The nice weather is short-lived around here and when I can sit outside, it’s my place of choice.

I wanted to get to the zoo more this summer, but for one reason or another, it didn’t happen much. I managed to get there a few times but nothing like I wanted. After Labor Day, the zoo closes at 4 p.m., which makes it nearly impossible to get there on school days. Oh well. Next summer, eh?

So ends my 58th summer. On Monday morning, the alarm will ring and life as I know it will once again change. The shouldas, wouldas and couldas will be irrelevant. It’ll all be about meetings and getting the classroom ready for September 2.

Suck in as much of summer that remains. Get out to the State Fair! Eat your way into oblivion. It’ll be an entire year before it returns! “I shoulda. I woulda. I coulda, but…” Go!