I don’t know if anyone noticed, but summer happened. After a cool, wet spring that extended all the way to late June, temperatures climbed and the sun came out. At least for several hours most days, occasional thunderstorms notwithstanding. We’ve noticed because, even for our city-dwelling family, summer means more time spent outdoors, whether in our backyard at family parties, traveling or just Teresa spending her days traipsing from YMCA to park to library as part of day camp. Frank went camping overnight with friends for possibly the first time ever, and succeeded in both grilling hamburgers for his friends and lighting a campfire (with the help of the people in a neighboring campsite, who lent him a lighter). Teresa and I traveled to Iowa for a family reunion on the farm where my grandmother (her great-grandmother) grew up. The reunion, to celebrate the 100th birthday of the historic round barn on the property, drew people from Iowa and Illinois, but also Georgia, Texas, California and Montana. There she met lots of relatives she didn’t know before, including 11-year-old twins who welcomed her to their grandparents’ home and included her in everything from Nerf gun fights to croquet and Bananagrams. And took great delight in informing her that no, that’s not mud in the sheep pen. That’s a concrete floor covered in … well, you know. The under-12 set found it hilarious. Last weekend, Tony and I took the girls to Arlington International Racecourse to watch a few races and place a few bets. With $2 wagers all around, we ended up slightly ahead on betting, although not enough to cover admission and what we spent on refreshments. Still, for me much of the value was in spending the afternoon outside, sharing a bench along with our popcorn and racing program, going to rail with Teresa to cheer our horses on as they came down the stretch and then jogging over to the winner’s circle to see if Teresa could snag a pair of signed goggles from the winning jockey. No luck this time, but it was fun all the same. This is summer for us: A time to enjoy the outdoors and enjoy one another’s company. When I think we are being lazy (and yes, the back door to the garage still needs a coat of paint), I look at what Jesus told his disciples and at the example he set. When things got hectic, he would go away for a while. We see it in some Gospel readings, when Jesus tells the apostles, “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while” (Mk 6:31). If you read on, the “rest” part doesn’t work out so well; the people figure out where they’re going and meet them there, and Jesus divides the loaves and fishes to feed the multitude. I guess that means that we still have to make dinner.