Scene, Sunday, June 24, 2007

Here’s a sample of a recent conversation between Tommy and Ronnie as they watched one of the new “Star Wars” movies. By “new,” I’m referring to one that came out a few years ago, not in the 1970s.

I don’t know where any of those new movies fit as far as chronological order goes because prequels that come out years later as sequels confuse me.

I wasn’t that into “Star Wars” in the first place. “Spider-Man” and “Pirates of the Caribbean” are more my style.

My boys, however, know exactly what order the movies are “really” in. Unless there is a battle scene in progress, I can expect to hear a commentary like the one that follows.

Tommy: Hey, there’s Jar Jar Binks!

Ronnie: Where? Where’s Jar Binks? What does he look like? R2D2 is my favorite.

Tommy: I like Yoda.

Ronnie: Yoda looks like a big booger!

At that point in the conversation, I called up an image of Jar Jar Binks on the Internet, showed it to Ronnie and sent them to wait for the school bus.

Yes, I’m one of those bad moms who allows her children to watch TV before school. And it was HBO to boot!

Their silly conversation lingered in my mind throughout the day. It seemed so pointless and so not the way I intend for my children to spend summer vacation, hypnotized by cable TV.

We have roller coasters to ride, sand to get between our toes and hundreds of relatives waiting to eat North Carolina-style barbecue on the hottest days of the year.

If I sound excited, it’s because I am. I love summer, with its super-long days, lightning bugs and no homework. Even afternoon thunderstorms can be fun if we’re all inside, watching nature’s fireworks from our living room.

I love riding down the road with all my windows down and the radio blasting like a teenager, even though Jimmy, Tommy and Ronnie, along for the ride, are evidence that I’ve kissed those years behind.

Summer clothes are a lot more comfortable than bulky winter wear because there is less to them, and a T-shirt is appropriate attire for almost any occasion.

Sandals are just one step away from being barefoot, which is my preferred way to spend the months of June through early September.

Last but definitely not least is the tasty reality that summertime is the season of the ice cream man. I grew up in a town too small to support an ice cream man, making me the ideal customer as an adult. (I have to make up for all the ice cream I missed!)

As soon as we hear the music, the boys go into a frenzy of looking for loose change and making sure the ice cream man sees us. Then, we all end up with a cool treat.

Last weekend, I opted for a family favorite, the Snoopy bar, but ended up sharing most of it with Jimmy when he realized it was better than his snow cone. He hadn’t wanted to order a Snoopy bar for himself in front of all his tough lacrosse buddies.

By midsummer, the ice cream man will probably be circling our house twice a day. That’s what the ones in San Antonio and San Diego did, once they realized what good customers had moved into the area.

About the only thing that does not get better in the summertime is what’s on television, which makes doesn’t really matter. With long, sunny days ahead and not a school project in sight, the boys and I will be sleeping in, playing and heading out to the local pool.

Yoda will still be around in the fall, looking like a green booger.

A mother of three boys, Pam Zich has moved eight times in 16 years of marriage to her Marine Corps husband. They have been stationed in various locations, including Okinawa, California, Texas and their current home in Springfield, Va. E-mail her at or find the Zichs online at

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