Used to be the middle of summer wasn't until the middle of July, but with school getting out later and starting earlier, I'm never sure when the middle of summer is.
Today is June 24, not quite what used to be the middle of summer. Still, even if summer's close to half done, there's time for people in and around Clare to get hooked up with the summer reading program at the Clare Public Library.
When people want something badly enough, there are special things they do. The library staff, for instance, want youngsters to be part of the summer reading program, so they've offered a bunch of incentives. Like the blinking flamingo.
That's not a euphemism, either. The flamingo blinks. That's what Lori Whatsername said.
Well, that's not really her name, but that's what she uses in her email address. I know what she means with it because I use whatsername often when my mind blinks on and off. It irritates some people, I know, and I feel badly about that, but it's what comes through my head and out my mouth.
But that's not important here. Now I want you to know where kids can have a whole lot of fun this summer. Free fun.
"We're concerned about where we're going in the future," said Lori Vosberg, a volunteer on Monday nights and a staff member whenever librarian Kathy Allen needs her.
"I'm retired," Vosberg said. "This is kind of nice because I get to meet some of the people. We've only lived here about three years now."
She was naturally drawn to the library, she said.
"When I was in fifth grade, I cataloged all my books and had my own little card catalog in my house. But I went into nursing instead."
Now, after a career in nursing, she's slipped back into the ways of youth, and the library seemed the perfect fit, even though it's changing.
"We have just entered into an e-book agreement, but can a plastic tool ever replace the touch of pages being turned on a cold night as you're snuggled in a throw and reading."
Or, for that matter, on a warm summer night sitting below a ceiling fan or in front of an open window.
The reading program is for children and young adults. For every five books the kids read, they get some kind of prize, including a free book or a free movie rental. And they get points. At the end of the program, their accumulated points allow them a choice of free prizes.
The program kicked off a few weeks back with a reader appreciation night, Vosberg said. "We had a meal and conversation."
Which is the old-fashioned way, maybe, of getting to know your neighbor without punching tiny buttons for texting.
Even more important, reading an actual book, for any age, is a good way to slow down your mind and relax your heart. You just can't do that thumbing your way through an electronic gadget.
It's just not the same.
So long friends, until the next time when we're together.
Sandy Mickelson, retired lifestyle editor of The Messenger, may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.