Over Easy: Oh, the places you didn’t go

  • Dan Mackie (Courtesy photograph)

For the Valley News
Published: 8/21/2020 10:01:55 PM
Modified: 8/21/2020 10:05:51 PM

School, in whatever form, is just around the corner. Many things will be different. A teacher could have mixed emotions about being there. She may be wearing a mask and plastic shield and have a slight look of fear in her eyes. But then she gives an opening-day smile so warm you’d think she’s directly powered by the sun.

If my student days weren’t over, I’d be ready to write a classic essay on “What I Did Last Summer.” I’d have to modify it to suit the new normal. Little Danny Mackie might come up with something like this:


Gee, that was a long break. We had so, so much family time. We ran out of anything new to say, so we annoyed each other to fill in the gaps. I had a lifetime of family time. Just kidding!

There were loads of things we didn’t do this summer. It’s really a pretty exciting list, so even though we didn’t do them, I am sure you will want to read about it.

First, we didn’t go to New York City. As you may know, New York has more than 8 million people, many of them crammed in closer than 6 feet, and is known for the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty and Times Square. And, oh yeah, some of the best hospitals in the world. We really didn’t want to visit them, so we didn’t go to New York.

We also didn’t go to Tulsa, Okla., which is, according to Wikipedia, the “cultural and arts center of Oklahoma.’’

That would probably be a pretty big draw if you lived in Ponca City, Okla., Dill City, Okla., or even Okay, Okla. There really is an Okay, Okla. I wonder if when residents leave and cross the town line they shout, “This is not Okay!” I’m sure I would. Every time. Do adults get tired of kids who say something like that over and over and over and over?

Anyway, there was a big political rally in Tulsa. They said there were going to be a million people. For extra credit I am pointing out that this is about the population of San Diego, Calif. But only about as many people as there are in Catoosa, Okla., (about 7,000) showed up. It was that kind of a summer. Like I said, we didn’t go.

We didn’t go to Florida because it is hot there in the summer, and a county sheriff says you can’t wear a mask if you go into his office because … well, I don’t know. I’m just a kid. Sometimes I do things that I have to apologize for later because doing things is faster than thinking about things. I heard that lots of people in Florida had parties that were kind of dangerous and made some people sick. I would feel bad if I did that. But we didn’t go there.

We also didn’t go to France, Germany, Italy, Spain and many other countries that consider themselves to be in Europe. Our passports wouldn’t work. I’m not sure why they wouldn’t want Americans breathing their air, using their hotel towels, walking in their busy tourist areas such as the Eiffel Tower and such. Europe, like Tulsa, Okla., is a culture and arts center. But we couldn’t go, so we didn’t.

I heard we could have gone to Albania or Belarus, where they aren’t so picky about who comes, but my parents aren’t too clear about where Albania and Belarus are so that would be a problem.

We didn’t go to Texas, California, Georgia or any virus hotspots. We also didn’t visit my aunt and uncle in New Jersey because it’s a long ride and once you got there you couldn’t go anywhere.

Well, there are lots of other places we didn’t go to. You could make a whole map of it. It’s pretty much the United States and the world, not to mention Canada.

Canada is very friendly. But you can’t go right now just to take a vacation, even if you drive lots of hours in a car and are sick of your little brother by the time you get there.

My little brother is sick of me too. I guess he is kind of ready to be in school and so am I. My parents are probably sick of us, but they are worried sick about the virus.

So long to my do-nothing summer. The virus made everything smaller. Maybe there was nothing to do about it and no one is to blame but I don’t know.

Dan Mackie lives in West Lebanon. He can be reached at dan.mackie@yahoo.com.

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