One of the nice things about summer is the times set aside to celebrate. Given the long days and energy everyone seems to have in early summer to plan, design, discuss, pay for and carry out in grand style – like galas, weddings, holiday parties and graduations. This all takes time and patience…

Since all this celebration has reasons, I see many people I know at every bash in town. Then you realize that everyone always has some stake in the whole purpose of parties – happy smiles and tired babies, grinning ring bearers and proud parents, people of all ages dressed to impress and honour. Yes, the days of summer were made for this type of stuff, much better than at 40 below. Recently, a rare and special outdoor wedding took place on a perfect calm day, although the bugs were a bit nasty, it was a pleasant change to the standard indoor ceremony.

Graduations are about equal in stature, as you become someone who is recognized for finishing and excelling some level of schooling. As this magazine showcases those who graduate, let me remind you that this is what we invested in a long time ago – people with Masters, PhDs, degrees, certificates, diplomas, high school education and even getting into secondary school – this is what we paid for. Soon, professionals from next door will be our new advisors, teachers, plumbers, physicians and biologists. The amount of funds used to get there just seems worth it when it finally gets done and you have a Cree professional.

Soon, as I watch proudly, the steps of children who will enter into high school, unaware perhaps that they eventually will care for us in our hospitals and train their own children at schools, build their own homes with skills and experience, and extract resources from the lands to make enough money to get off welfare and handouts. Soon that future will be theirs to care for. Perhaps it may be wishful thinking, but an entire hydroelectric system is there to run, for example. Who says that one day we may run that whole thing? The future is in their hands when the children walk down that aisle to accept their congratulations and recognition. Now, that is a reason to celebrate.

Of course, summer is a host of other occasions, including many long weekends. I remember witnessing a gigantic bonfire somewhere in Abitibi for St-Jean-Baptiste and leaving with my facial skin feeling a bit leathery from leaning a little too close to the 50-foot flames. Then there’s Ottawa’s daylong event climaxing with some impressive fireworks, this year included a visit by the future King of England no less! As summer flies by, the construction holiday literally jams rural routes with happy guys sans hard hats off to the cottage for a little R’n’R. For us further north, there is no such holiday, as every day has to be a construction day before the cold winter sets in.

Many times, there is no real reason to celebrate, except for the working summer hours, where Fridays are cut short, giving every weekend a long-weekend feel. Don’tcha just love summer? It seems like one long holiday punctuated with work here and there.

But, when reality sets in for those who bask too long in their own glory, it’s time to get to work at some summer job, if you’re a student or seasonal worker. Back in the day, summer jobs were literally handed out to those who were of working age. One summer job we had, we got paid only after the job was done, just before school started. When we received our first really large cheque, my buddy nearly fainted and panicked with the amount of money he held in his shaking hand. He realized that he had to get a wallet to hold the wad of bills and figure out what to do with all his money. He was in a quandary and nervous for a number of days. Happily, his family was more than happy to help him figure out what to do. I, on the other hand, left for school in the south, where my new wealth kept me happy for a number of months, given the fact that a pack of smokes was less than a buck and pop was still a quarter. Today, earnings just don’t carry as far and summer just seems a little shorter…