Simple spring break travel can be rewarding

The existence, or widespread celebration, of spring break seems to be a recent development. I remember spring break from my young adulthood as primarily a college event, nonexistent in high school. Though the rich kids may have gone to Florida, most of us used the time either to look for summer jobs, recommit to previous summer jobs, or perhaps work for an extra week, if that was possible in the type of job one had.

One spring, summer jobs secured, I remember going with Roger camping up on Presque Isle (Lake Erie). I do not remember (at the risk of sounding like a curmudgeon) middle- or working-class families taking out a loan so that they could send a 19- or 20-year-old to Cancun or Belize.

So what did you do for spring break? Here are some wonderful suggestions, acted upon by those of us who, because of finances, other commitments or both, were unable to make a spring break journey. Fortunately, the little person in our house is only 6 and doesn’t see much qualitative difference between a trip to Paris and a trip to Amarillo. Come to think of it, perhaps we could all learn from him.

• Check out the revised Play Inc. Under new and energetic management, the updates and changes are obvious even at first glance. Our focus was on the pool area, as a result of the enthusiasm with which the grandson in residence approaches swimming. The wonderful thing is, he doesn’t care if he’s swimming in Clovis or Palm Beach. So check out the upgrades and upbeat atmosphere at Play Inc.

• Go to the zoo. Yes, the Hillcrest Zoo. Take a little kid with you, if you want to see it through new eyes. Animals are the eighth wonder of the world, viewed through the eyes of a child. Some of them, like the overly friendly young camel or the wolf who goes crazy at the sight of a cowboy hat, are like greeting old friends.

• Rediscover play. Make a big deal of a trip to Dairy Queen, or the playground or the local outdoor basketball court. If you are fretting because having the kids at home is messing with your exercise regimen, borrow a 6-year-old and take him or her to the playground. Then follow the youngster around and do everything he or she does. You will burn calories — guaranteed.

• Explore Amarillo or Lubbock — the science center, the malls, the parks and recreation areas, the museums and the culture scene. Be creative. Top it off with dinner at. … Well, I’m not allowed to name the restaurants. But they all begin with “Fine Italian dining at. …”

• Have a birthday party. It so happened that spring break coincided with our short person’s sixth birthday. Wait a minute. Who said there had to be a real birthday? Make one up. Like the Allan Jackson song, “It’s Five O’clock Somewhere,” we can assume that it is someone’s birthday somewhere. In other words, have an impromptu party.

• Many college and even high school students deserve a lot of cheers for going on hurricane-related mission trips this spring. Instead of trying to get served hurricanes in a glass, they were donating their time to clean up after a real one. The point is, there will always be a place where someone will need help. Donate your time and expertise.

• Play games in the wind. Strap yourself to a skateboard and hook your arms to a giant kite. Let the 40-mph winds take you wherever they will. No, don’t do that. That last part is just a joke. On second thought, it may be a cheap way to get to Cancun.

Clyde Davis is pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Portales and an instructor at Eastern New Mexico University. He can be contacted at: