Treena Mielke

Mielke: The joys of summer

Summer, with its bountiful harvest of all things good and beautiful, is not quite done yet.

Thank goodness.

I went for lunch with my girls, the schoolteachers, the other day. We sat on one of those outdoor patios and let the August sunshine benevolently pour its golden warmth all over us and we were happy.

At least I was happy.

The girls, a little less so, because summer, as they know it is fast coming to a close and it’s almost time to find those misplaced school keys and start spinning that wheel of learning for another year.

Yikes. Here’s to all the teachers out there.

A new year. New challenges. New kids.

Good luck!

The Grade 6 teacher already has a jumble of ideas going on in her head about how to turn her school room into a place of inspiration where students will want to go to learn, will never get sent to the office and will leave each day with heads full of knowledge.

She is lucky, that girl, because her own three boys will all be in the hallowed halls of learning with her. I’m not sure if the boys feel quite so lucky about being in the same school as their mom, the teacher, but I’m sure being a teacher’s kid does have its pros, many of which they have, no doubt, experienced already, but haven’t yet realized.

They will!

The high school teacher, who just sent her own daughter off to university in Lethbridge for another year, is still suffering from the pangs of separation and letting go, once again to her girl, turned all too soon into a woman off to pursue her own goals and dreams.

“I watered my flowers with my tears when you all left,” I told them, allowing myself a moment of melancholy, even as the sun smiled happy faces all over our patio table.

“And then you went off to Korea to teach,” I mentioned, smiling at my youngest daughter who had made the announcement one day at the supper table.

She said it casually like she might say, “pass the ketchup, please.”

“I think I’ll spend a year in Korea teaching,” she told us, calmly helping herself to another hamburger.

I remember thinking of the saying “give them roots and then give them wings,” when she told us of her plans, but, so help me, I never thought those wings would take her so far away from me. So fast.

But those same wings brought her back and anyway, it was long ago, and it was far away and now here I am now, having lunch on a sun-kissed patio in Sylvan Lake with my girls.

Does it get any better? I think not!

“Thank you,” I say to the sun, the universe, and the waitress, who finally brought our food.

As for me and my summer, it was filled with unexpected joys and happy moments that totally took me by surprise, like flowers that bloom unexpectedly through cracks in cement.

There were my sweet peas. They took off like a galloping mass of pink, sprawling in sweet abundance all over a blue trellis in my front yard.

And then there was a trip to the Cypress Hills and Fort Walsh and Frank Slide.

Who knew there was so much to see and appreciate right in your own backyard. And, at the risk of sounding shallow, another highlight for me was the fact that I got to sleep in the backseat in between scenic spots because of our chauffer who allowed me this comfort without so much of a word of complaint.

And, then there was the backyard party where Mother Nature chipped in and provided all the guests with a perfect backdrop of starlight and summer. It made the music and the laughter and the easy ebb and flow of conversation between the generations flow smoothly and gently.

And even though summer is flying by quickly on the wings of time and change, it’s not over yet.

I’m going golfing, Sunday with my son, a perfect bookend to the days of summer of 2022. And even when the snow flies and this summer becomes last summer, it will be there, in our collection of memories.

And that has to be a good thing. A wonderful thing!

Treena Mielke is a Central Alberta writer. She lives in Sylvan Lake with her family.

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