My sons have been reading my old Calvin and Hobbes comics lately. One of the books I have is called “The Days are Just Packed,” and that right there is one of the reasons I miss Bill Watterson’s comic strip so much. He had a way of summing things up in a way even a 13-year-old could understand.
“The Days are Just Packed” is mostly strips from the summer months, when Calvin, the hero of the stories, is trying to fit in everything he wants to do over the break from school. When I was a kid, reading those strips for the first time, I felt the same way. But now that I’m a grown-up, and a father of two young Calvins myself, I really identify with it.
It’d be one thing if I didn’t have a job or child-raising responsibilities, but I have both. That makes squeezing in all the fishing, camping, shooting and hiking more difficult.
It’s nice that the days are longer in the summer, because I can get off work, pick up the kids, and head out for a couple hours of fishing. If I don’t get off early enough to make it to the fishing hole, we can at least set up a target in the back yard and sling some arrows at it until our arms get too tired to draw the bows.
Finding time for a camping trip is harder. That involves having a weekend free of other commitments, like the 4-H animals, visits from relatives, or yard work. I might take a Friday off one of these weeks, so maybe we can at least cram in a couple-night campout.
If we do, you can bet we’ll pack the fishing rods, the s’mores making sticks, and of course, the Calvin and Hobbes books.
Because Watterson’s exactly right about the summer. Even if there’s no school to worry about, the days are still just packed.