These are serious times.
The nation's economy, while improving, could do better, especially in terms of the millions of people still looking for work.
It appears that approximately 30,000 South Dakotans have signed petitions hoping to refer Gov. Daugaard's education reform legislation, HB 1234, because they think it's a bad idea.
There appears to be other unrest in Pierre, too, as a state lawmaker believes the attorney general should investigate the goings-on in Secretary of State Jason Gant's office.
This is all on top of the stuff we normally fret about this year.
When will it rain/or stop raining? When will this heat wave end?
How do I keep moles from digging up my garden?
Summer officially arrived this week, and we should treat it properly. I was reminded of this when the young kids of family friends – a brother and sister team – spent the night at our house while their parents painted the kids' bedrooms.
These two know how to observe summer. They've just gotten back from a family get-together held with out-of-state relatives, and it's clear from their deep tans and higher-than-usual energy levels that they have reveled outdoors as much as possible now that they are no longer confined to fluorescent lit classrooms.
It is a time of picking flowers, swimming, picnics and sleeping over at friends' houses. These two are too busy to sit still long enough to watch much TV … although they did play some video games and watched a movie before conking out under blankets on our living room floor.
They don't watch Fox "News" or MSNBC every night to be filled with a nightly dose of dread. They realize that their care mainly comes from their parents and others who love them, and there's also much in this world they can't control.
So, they do what all kids do. They don't worry about things they can't change or influence. Summertime is for living, not worrying.
These two youngsters have lived much of their lives in our house, as Sarah and Andrea, our daughters, babysat for them from the time they were both infants. They've obviously grown into two very responsible kids who don't need to be constantly monitored.
So, it's been a while since we've seen them. I'm glad, though, that they crashed our house the other night. Being in their presence – hearing their wide-eyed stories of the wondrous things they've experienced since the last day of school – helps put things in perspective.
Yes, a tank of gas will still cost too much when we fill our vehicles' tanks this week. We'll mutter about the cost of food as we push our carts through the aisles of the grocery store. We'll worry about crops, drought, hail, wind and pests.
We'll too easily forget that this, of all seasons, is the time to lighten up just a bit.
It's time to try to beat your brother or sister or best friend in a round of golf at The Bluffs.
It's time to take in a double-header at the Prentis Park ball field.
It's time to breathe deep and catch the sweet smell of blooming clover as you ride your bike down a quiet country road.
It's time to throw steaks on the grill, crack open a beer, invite friends to spend the evening sitting around a firepot.
It's time to cast a line in the water, even if the fish aren't biting, to turn off the cell phone and the TV and replace them with that book you've never gotten around to finish.
It's time to take in a movie, or better yet, make plans to attend the Vermillion Community Theatre's production of "Annie" next month.
These are serious times. But, it is also summer.
Summertime is for living, not worrying.