While the calendar says it’s not officially summer until June 21st, most of us in the Land of the Free recognize Memorial Day weekend as the kick-off to fun in the sun on boats, in pools, at lakes, near oceans. Or even just sitting in backyards enjoying food, family, friends, and festivities in the great outdoors. Amidst all the coming frivolity, no one wants to be reminded of the myriad messes that have clogged up our lives from the end of summer 2021 ’til now.

There’s no need to rehash the trials and tribulations that have befallen most of humankind in the last nine months or so. Suffice it to say we’re still awash in unpleasant news that puts a strain on everyone and affects us all in one way or another.

With the idea of leaving our cares behind for the next couple of months – well, perhaps putting them in abeyance is more likely – I’d like to once again offer up some good news: For example, here in Georgia, and in many other states across the fruited plain, the political primary season is pretty much over. While we’ll probably hear and see a commercial or two during the summer touting the benefits of one candidate or another, or telling us how evil, mean, wicked, bad, and nasty the opposition is, the real slinging of mud usually doesn’t begin in earnest until the sunscreen is packed away with the Labor Day beach chairs in September.

In other news, most of the time, for now at least, you don’t have to wear a mask in public. Sure, some still do, and that’s fine. And, yeah, we probably all look a bit askance at someone in the store aisle who coughs more than once or, heaven forfend, sneezes within ten feet of us. But at least we don’t have to keep face-coverings at the ready all the time.

Personally, I can add with great fanfare that my recently-turned-6-year-old granddaughter is a full-fledged, very proud Kindergarten graduate. I know this because I saw her in cap and gown, holding a diploma. (My daughter intends to keep that photo for about 12 years until high school graduation to make a side-by-side comparison.)

Now, this next good thing is a bit out of the ordinary but might well appeal to environmentalists. There’s apparently a Dutch company that has created a fully biodegradable casket. It, along with its contents, reportedly decomposes in about two to three years. That could be taking the whole “dust-to-dust” idea a bit far, but it seems orders are brisk.

And speaking of the environment, reports are that a businessman from Montreal has donated a pristine forested island that lies within a freshwater glacial lake in Quebec to the Nature Conservancy of Canada. The donation precludes any development for years to come. (Can’t you just smell the fresh air?)

Perhaps you read about the hero dad in Kansas who saved a young, nonverbal, autistic boy from drowning. It was reported that Xavier’s mom said he is drawn to water, and in the split second she took her eye off him, he wandered toward the nearby apartment complex pool. Alerted to the fact that the boy was in the pool and not moving by his own 12-year-old child, Tom Westerhaus hustled over, jumped a fence, and splashed into the water. He pulled Xavier out and performed CPR on him until the boy started coughing up water. The city’s Fire Medical Department gave Mr. Westerhaus a Hometown Hero award. Thankfully, Xavier has apparently made a full recovery.

Other reports include all kinds of decent things and decent people. There was one story about a 6th grader who said no one signed his yearbook. So, a bunch of high school kids took up the cause and filled the kid’s book with uplifting comments and their signatures. Elsewhere, an 84-year-old grandma got her Bachelor’s degree 60 years after she first enrolled in college but got sidetracked.

Spanish divers rescued a humpback whale that was entangled in fishing nets. Closer to home, other divers picked up some 12 tons of submerged trash from beautiful, blue Lake Tahoe. Wild mammals, once on the verge of extinction, are making a comeback in Europe. People are still giving waiters and waitresses enormous tips that make significant differences to the recipients. And a Florida mom with ALS was bound and determined to dance with her son at his wedding. With a little support from the groom and his two brothers, she did just that. They probably won’t appear on Dancing with the Stars, but I think they’ve already won their prize.

Hopefully that gives you a little respite from the gloom and doom. I’m pretty sure all of us can use it.

©MMXXII. William J. Lewis, III – Freelance Writer