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Summer officially begins with the solstice today, June 21 at 12:38 P.M. EDT. This year, Father’s Day falls on the solstice. There’s no cosmic connection between the two, but maybe it has you thinking about childhood summers and some memories of doing things with your father.

You can take that solstice and its Latin solstitium to mean sol/sun and stitium/stop as its ancient meaning – that the Sun appeared to stop at this time. Or, this year, you can take it as a reminder to stop for the day and remember your father. (As a dad, I like the latter.) You’ve got the time today because the summer solstice is the day with the most hours of sunlight during the whole year.

In our northern hemisphere, the Sun is higher in the sky throughout the day. Its rays are hitting Earth at a more direct angle and it is heating us up.

Around Paradelle, people launch summer things – barbecues and beach days – when Memorial day hits. But as a kid, school always seemed to ended somewhere near the solstice and so that second or third week of June really was summer for us.

What’s your traditional summer celebration? Did it connect with your Dad?

The solstice day was traditionally celebrated by dancing around the bonfires. My dad made barbecue fires. Never danced.

He did love the Jersey Shore and that was a summer ritual. There was a bit of fishing and crabbing, which he only did on those shore trips. Definitely a summer thing for him.

Our vegetable garden was a big part of summer. Plant those Jersey tomatoes and plant them deep – up to the top leaves – to survive our dry, hot summer days.

We did picnics, but no camping. Camping is one of my memories of being a father. Great times in the woods with my two sons.

But it doesn’t require big events to make the day. As father or son, teaching or learning how to fix something around the house. Washing the car. Cutting the grass. Looking for seashells by the shoreline.

Enjoy your long day. Think some good thoughts about your father. Say it in person, if you can, but say it aloud either way.

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