Traditionally, the Memorial Day weekend marks the beginning of summer — and all of us in MI Town have been waiting to roll out the welcome mat and enjoy all the good and happy times that follow the sunshine and blue skies. The deck was scrubbed and outdoor furniture spiffed up for those wonderful summer days that seem to stretch out endlessly before us, where plans of picnics, barbecues and endless gallons of iced tea and lemonade are at the top of the list. Meanwhile, the garden is planted, the strawberries are ripening and yard projects continue. The weeds won’t miraculously disappear, no matter how much we wish. I’m just thankful that we have the energy to keep those pesky weeds from taking over completely. — Memorial Day weekend also gave us an opportunity to stop at either of MI Town’s libraries, where we can get a head start on our summer reading and see all of the programs available for kids and grandkids during the upcoming vacation days. If there’s not enough money in the budget for a vacation to faraway places, kids of all ages can visit anywhere in the world while sitting under a tree in the backyard or in a cozy corner of the house. — What a bonus to receive the “Explore Polk County” magazine tucked into last week’s Itemizer-Observer. This will be great to share with summertime visitors from out of state, and gives even those of us who’ve lived here for some time some fresh, new ideas for places to go and things to do. Next time somebody says, “There isn’t anything to do,” hand them a copy and dare them to be bored after seeing what’s available to all of us. — With the ever-rising gasoline prices, most of us are trying to find ways to economize. One of them is to combine errands whenever we take the car out of the driveway. I’ve discovered the Rule of Three, which means I try to have a minimum three activities or errands (i.e., groceries, library, recycling). It’s not always easy, but can become a habit with practice. The food bank and other agencies are always happy to receive donations of good, clean items, so that’s one more errand you can add to your list. — Friday, May 30 — which used to be the traditional Memorial Day — is also the birthday of my beloved husband, Don Dutcher. Don spends his days doing good deeds, kind works and just always being there for those of us fortunate enough to have him in our lives. We’ve shared 30 years together — the last 14 of them happily living in MI Town. Happy Birthday — and many more!