Sam Houston 2022

Sam Houston. 


The good old summertime is right around the corner


Sam Houston is the publisher of the Hood County News. He is also an actor, author, playwright, performer and entertainment producer/promoter.



I have been so occupied with a variety of tasks that I failed to realize we are halfway through the month of May. Before we turn around school is going to be out, graduation is going to take place, and we will find ourselves smack in the middle of summer!

The summer vacations of my youth were a lot different than the experience kids seem to have now. I was not signed up for summer camp, nor did my family have expensive travel plans to Disney World or some faraway land. Our family vacation might be an overnight camping trip.  But I think I had as much fun and pleasure as any little boy ever had.

On the last day of school, my shirt came off and I hardly put a shirt on until school started in the fall. There was no sunscreen or preventative measures against UV rays. We simply played out all day long and once we got a good sunburn, it seemed like we “browned” and the sun did not bother us for the rest of the summer. We did wear our Cardinals baseball caps but I think that was more to imitate one of our baseball heroes than it was a sun precaution. By the time August came, my skin had turned such a bronze color I could have passed as a member of an Indian tribe. No telling how many of my childhood friends are going to end up with skin cancer.

Soon as breakfast was over, my friends and I hit the ballfield. Even if only my buddy Bobby and I were available, I would pitch, and he would catch. We played imaginary games that would go on until we were too tired to stand, and then started up the next day where we left off. We played so much catch, Bobby’s dad had to reweave the web of his glove because we flat wore the leather out. Looking back, I threw so many pitches my right arm should be a couple of inches longer than my left!

When we were done playing ball, we frequently would go for a swim in the aluminum stock tank that sat on my driveway. No, it was not an inground pool and we had no private club to go to, but my friends and sisters would jump in, play games, splash and go underwater — having as much fun anybody could have, doing just about anything.

There were nights we all played kickball after dinner, or caught fireflies, and one of the highlights of summer was playing with fireworks on the 4th of July. We would shoot off pop bottle rockets and Black Cats and do our very best to not burn ourselves or catch anything on fire. We stretched the limits of good judgement and would have “duels” where we would shoot bottle rockets at each other, or we would try and blow-up little model cars with a couple of firecrackers. Nowadays, our parents would probably be charged with “failure to supervise,” but we were just boys being boys. Best as I recall we never hurt anyone or anything.

About dark, I would be glued to the radio to listen to the ballgame. I knew every one of the players on all the teams and as the game wore on until past my bedtime, I would get into bed and fall asleep with the game playing in the background. The first thing I would do in the morning was run to my dad to find out how the game came out. There was nothing more important than baseball and a win the night before made for the great start of a day. A loss made the day less joyful and even made eating breakfast a grim task.

Maybe kids have more fun now. Maybe their fun is safer, more educational, or more inspiring. I am sure contemporary children would be “bored” with our early 1960s routine, but they were some of the best times in my life. Wish I could take off the summer and do them all over again.

Thought for the day: Summer is when laziness finds respectability.

Until next time... | 817-573-7066, ext. 260