Summertime usually dredges up old memories, good and bad, but occasionally it is the opposite; something else brings back long gone days of summer.

I sprinted home from school in the one hundred plus degree weather the last day of school in 1977. I was a skinny fourteen-year old that just squeaked past my freshman year. My brother was waiting for me at home, my parent’s house. Home for him was a 22′ travel trailer he pulled behind his new Ford F-150 four wheel drive pick-up.

My brother and two other guys lived in the travel trailer on job sites up and down the west coast interstates. They built truck stops. As small as that trailer was, a fourth person in it made it feel a little like the inside of a sardine can.

Everybody can point to a specific time in their life when they grew up. I don’t mean mature and wise, some of us are still working on that, but the time we finally measured up. For males, it’s considered the time, “A boy becomes a man”.

It didn’t matter that I was smaller and weaker. When you’re on a job and getting paid, even if it was against the law due to age, you gotta pull your weight. Especially when an older brother that gets you the job expects more out of you than the average punk kid.

Mishaps happen with youngsters… especially on job sites. I got caught between the handles of a wheel barrel full of wet concrete tipping over more than once. It’s like getting body slammed by Hulk Hogan. I hit one of the guys in the head with a pick on a full back swing, but only once. That dull “Thud” still echoes in my ears.

I shoveled so much concrete off the back of a 2×4 screed board I dreamed about it. And somehow, no matter how hard I tried to prevent it, I always ended up with concrete inside my concrete boots.

But those memories didn’t come back to me this summer that dumped me back in ’77 until I heard a song.

We worked like desperate people because we were, but we still took Sunday’s off.

Roger had a canary yellow Chevy Monza with a v-8, along with a stereo that was a teenager’s idea of heaven.

It didn’t take long to memorize every word to Bob Seger’s Night Moves album. But it was the song by

long gone days of summer

photo courtesy of wikipedia

Boston I heard the other night that shot me back to the summer I became a man.

“We were just another band out of Boston, on the road tryin’ to make ends meet”. That band used the memories of difficult times to motivate themselves. I didn’t know it at the time, but that’s what I’d be doing most of the days of my life to come.

Difficult times and struggles are gifts. Not all bad things are bad. They can be as powerful as jet fuel. Perseverance doesn’t come from being comfortable. And, “There is no increase in strength without resistance”. It’s God’s design.

He can use anything in creation to remind us of that fact… even a Boston song and the long gone days of summer.