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Martian Summer
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When I was growing up June signalled my entry into a new world. It was after school ended for the summer that my parents opened the picnic grove at the lake. For them, our move to the cottage, it meant long hours sitting by the road collecting admission fees and rising with the sun to clean the grounds and haul the previous day's trash to the dump.

But I was transported to a magical place, as far from classrooms as John Carter's Barsoom. For a few months I lived a life of adventure. My daily plans revolved around frogs and crayfish, rather than reading and arithmetic.

We had no running water, let alone hot water. There was an outhouse not far from the cottage and a big tin laundry tub did for a bath. We had no television. Back then there was nothing on but reruns in the summer anyway. The grove was next to a drive-in and at dusk, just before my bedtime, I'd cross the field to the chain link fence from where I could see the cartoons, huge, garish figures, moving in silence, except for a few stray crackles from the speakers hanging in car windows, barely audible above the sounds of crickets and peepers.

The place is owned by the state now. It's a parking lot for a boat launch. I was fortunate to have had the chance to rough it during those few summers we spent there.

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