By Bob urban

burban@tnonline.com [1]

Summer vacation - a week off from work with pay.

No, summer vacation is so much more.

It's not having to set the alarm clock each morning.

It's getting up to see the sun rise, or rolling over and staying in bed for an extra couple of hours. Whatever you feel like doing.

It's fishing with your son, and wife.

Vacation is sometimes going several days without hearing the telephone ring.

It's catching the fish of a lifetime and sharing the excitement of it with your son.

It's catcing that fish, and then releasing it safely back into the lake after appropriate pictures were taken - just so you can have some bragging rights.

It's having meals together and talking over the dinner table, a luxury that's often overlooked during a hectic work week.

It's finally finding the time to read a long overdue book, in this case "Big Russ and Me", by the late Tim Russert. The book was a Father's Day gift, and one that was consumed in a matter of days.

Vacation is staying up until almost midnight to watch game seven of the NBA Championship, and not worrying that you'll be dead on your feet the next day at work.

It's a week without deadlines.

It's following the flight of a jet plane across a blue sky, and watching it's vapor trail appear and then eventually vanish into the clouds.

It's comparing sunsets, never two the same, in majestic colors of blue, pink, and yellow as the day turns into night.

Vacation is taking time to stare up at the stars on a moonlit night, even picking out the Big Dipper.

It's sitting around a campfire at night, listening to the crackling of the burning wood, and watching the sparks dance into the air.

It's taking your dog for a walk along your favorite dirt road, and seeing your pup's reaction when she spots a herd of dairy cows.

Vacation is watching two Loons glide along on and under the water, and wondering how the mother Loon can keep two young ones balanced on her back as she searches for fish to eat. You can hear their haunting sounds all day and night. It's a sound that once you hear it, you'll never forget.

It's determining what color lure to use on your rod, and then realizing that's the most important decision you're going to have to make all day.

It's following, at a safe distance, in a boat, a large deer swimming across the lake to an island, and marveling at the strength and edurance of the creature as he makes his way quickly and steadily to his destination.

It's having a few cold beers following a day of fishing.

It's visiting a shop where, on the same day, you can buy live bait ("Our worms are guaranteed to catch fish or they'll die trying") or get your income tax done.

It's watching a Blue Heron take flight from a tree limb, and realizing how lucky this bird is that he doesn't reside in the oil-ravaged Gulf of Mexico.

It's looking for the perfect souvenir for your new grandson.

It's seeing people you come in contact with only once and twice a year, and resurrecting old friendships.

Vacation is wearing a life jacket while fishing instead of a necktie in the office.

It's going two or three days in a row without shaving, if that's what you prefer.

It's dining on great meals you don't always have the luxury of eating when you're at home.

It's visiting the same place for more than 30 years, and realizing very little has changed over that period.

It's wearing your favorite fishing shirt and lucky baseball hat.

Vacation is a good game of Scrabble on a rainy night.

It's not reading your emails, unless you want to.

It's standing up in the boat to stretch your legs, after your butt has gone to sleep from sitting on a boat seat for a couple of hours.

It's going a week without having to open a bill.

It's taking a buch of DVDs with you, and then not watching any of them because you're having too much fun doing other things.

It's seeing a large snapper turtle in a bog off the dirt road, and wondering do they really live to be 100 years old like some say.

Vacation is watching Dragon Flies flitter in front of you and recognizing that they are friends, mainly because they like to eat mosquitos.

It's an occasional nap, early in the afternoon.

It's watching the week go by all too quickly, and making plans to come back next year, same time, same place.