Growing up, we didn't have alot of money to go on family vacations. We would make the 600 mile trek every blue moon to visit relatives in Colorado, or drive the 5 hours down to south Missouri for a trip to Silver Dollar City and a few times, we went waterskiing at Grand Lake in Oklahoma.
What I remember the most about every summer is playing outside.
We lived outside of the city limits, what we considered "country". We had an acre of land next to our house where all the kids came to play. Lining the back and side yards were apple trees, a cherry and peach tree and evergreens that towered as high as the house.
My summers were always spent outside... from the moment we woke, had breakfast and were dismissed by mom, we played baseball, football, kickball, tetherball, dodgeball and of course hide and go seek (especially at dusk). When we got hungry, we would climb the apple trees and eat till we were full. There was a septic system that claimed the very back end of the acreage and I hated when one of the bigger boys smacked the ball back there - if you were playing outfield and you missed the ball, you were responsible for retrieving it... ooey gooey and garter snakes galore. It was a nasty job and one I didnt take to kindly, so I usually tried to claim an infield position.
There were 3 girls in the neighborhood - 2 of which were tomboys, and my brothers would never tolerate me crying to mom or not being able to hang like them - so it toughened me up in alot of ways.
We also had a picket fence that lined the driveway and my middle brother and I walked that fence so much - we were trapeze artists on the high wire, linemen repairing the lines, birds walking the roofs of houses and anything else that would come to mind as we walked that impervious railing. Independence Day was a HUGE event at our house and we had real roman candles and fountains and black cat firecrackers. There were 2 large trees in the front yard that we nailed spinners to every 4th of july and lit them to watch it spin at a rate of 1000 rpm!
Life was perfect and good. We never worried about kidnappings, murder, rape, a child NOT being safe in his own neighborhood - no matter how far they strayed. Mom was always a hollar away, dad was always the hero who protected me and disciplined the boys for picking on me and I was the perfect angel who never did anything wrong....
(ok, everything was true up till the angel bit :) )
oh yeah... and our big treat was getting to go to the city swimming pool. Mom would drop us off at 1pm when it opened and come back to pick us up at 9pm. We would spend the day double dog daring each other to dive off the high dive or play fetch, tossing anything we could find to the bottom of the pool (the smaller the better) and would always be worn slick, waterlogged and starving because the hotdogs and Big Hunks taffey from the snack bar never filled us up from swimming all day.