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Phil in the Blank A column by Phil Custodio

June 12, 2013 - The crowds of euphoric children frolicking throughout downtown Clarkston last Friday meant only one thing.

School was out for summer. I hope all those kids enjoy it. I remember summer vacation lasting a long time, with visits to relatives in Canada and Minnesota, along with days and days tramping about through the woods.

All that was before I hit my teens. There were no more than eight summers like that. Summers in high school were cut short by band camp, then a job at McDonalds, then finally shipping off to U.S. Army basic training at Ft. Dix, New Jersey.

Ever since then, summers have been just another season. So enjoy your summers while you can! You get eight of them, at most. Yes, "youth is wasted on the young," as said George Bernard Shaw.

One thing that hasn't changed about this time of year is Father's Day. It's coming up on Sunday.

I'll let my 11-year-old self tell a my-dad-and-me story, courtesy of an elementary-school journal entry dated Sept. 29, 1980:

"Friday we went to Best Products to get an Empire Strikes Back snowspeeder, but they didn't have it, and we went to the Golden Lamb (a restaurant), then to a football game. Our team, Carroll, lost. The next day I went to a Rosary soccer game, we were creamed, 7-1. And my dad brought me home and I found out he got me a snowspeeder while I was at the soccer game."

Obviously, I thought it was noteworthy, but since my sixth-grade self then went on to other things, not especially groundshaking that he would do that. What else would he do with his time, I must have thought.

Looking at it now, though, it means he must have noticed my disappointment and went out of his way to make it better. After all, we had just been to the store so he had no reason to go back, and my birthday and Christmas were both months away.

I still have that snowspeeder. I have a blog and it's featured in it from time to time. Might be worth something on ebay but I'll never sell it.

Happy Father's Day!

Phil is editor for The Clarkston News. He is a veteran of the first Iraq war, having served in the U.S. Army.
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