Summer: It’s almost over

FLINT – All of a sudden, I’m having a summer anxiety attack.

The cause: calendaritis. I looked up and the calendar said Aug.t 1, which simply isn’t possible. Summer can’t almost be over. I haven’t yet:

– Tanned my torso. It’s still as white as February. Yes, part of the reason for this is a 16-year-old daughter who goes “Eyew!” every time her dad – who was put on this earth to horrify her – tries to take off his shirt, but still, that’s no excuse. I need to get my hairy, white chestal region some exposure to the sun, stat. You’ve been warned.

– Slid down a Slip n’ Slide while turning a 360 without spilling less than half of the beer in my plastic cup. (Try it. It’s not easy.) (Tip: Use cheap beer.)

– Hiked a long, dusty trail, smelling the hot grass and listening to the buzz of the cicadas. One of my all-time favorite things to do.

– Canoed the mighty Platte River. It’s usually about two feet deep during the summer and devoid of white water. It’s a nice, peaceful, completely unchallenging ride. Just like I like it. My favorite part is where the river empties into Lake Michigan near Honor. The marriage of river and lake makes it a holy place to swim. Please don’t go there. It’s mine.

– Spent enough time on Lake Michigan – my lake of lakes. I grew up on it and can feel its pull when I’ve been away too long. I’m not a boater, nor a fisherman, but I am a starer. I stare at waves. I stare at seagulls. I stare at oar boats. And I dream.

– Bought the road bike I was going to buy. This was supposed to be the year I long distance biked, remember? I was going to buy one in May. Then June. Then July was busy, you see. And now

– Found my summer book yet. There’s always one book that captivates me each summer. True, I just finished Orson Scott Card’s “Ender’s Game.” It’s considered a sci-fi classic by some. But I thought it was just so-so, although I confess I didn’t see the ending coming. That’s always a good thing. I also finished “The Day of Battle,” Rick Atkinson’s epic retelling of the bloody American campaign in World WarII to free Italy. Atkinson is no dry, dusty history wonk. He’s a master who tells history the right way – through the eyes of real people. That said, I still need my “it” book for the summer. I’m taking suggestions.

– Played nearly enough games of “bags” – the unofficial official game of the U.P. If you don’t know what it is, think horseshoes with beanbags. Yes, some people call it “cornhole” and use the subtraction form of scoring instead of the trump form. But these people are cretins and not to be listened to much less tolerated.

– Been to one, stinking Detroit Tigers game all season. What’s the matter with me? This is the year they win it all. They have the pitching, the hitting, the defense, the personalities. It all adds up. And I’m missing it. TV isn’t the same.

– Soaked in enough of my son Sam’s company. He heads back to college soon. Within weeks. We’ve played cards together, swum together, played softball together.

But it’s not nearly enough to make up for the long fall and winter ahead.

My whole summer has been like that – not enough. I haven’t swatted enough mosquitos, sat at enough fires, thrown enough Frisbees, laughed with enough friends, seen enough family. And now here we are, with just a few weeks left to go.

I gotta get going.

EDITOR’S NOTE – Andy Heller, an award-winning columnist, appears weekly in the Daily Press. He graduated from Escanaba Area High School in 1979. Write to Andrew Heller at or follow him on Facebook and Twitter.