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Commentary: Summer break is great, but the chores, eh, not so much

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Jean Simmons, columnist

Jean Simmons is a Franklin resident, nurse and published author who won a Janice Keck Literary Award from the Williamson County Public Library in 2014. She can be contacted at

I love it when summer rolls around and school is out for the season. 

Going to the pool or lake or even just sitting on the porch reading a good book are some of my favorite activities, although these are curtailed somewhat by all the coronavirus restrictions. 

I am also thankful that my son’s “online school” is over for the year, not that I don’t appreciate the teachers’ hard work to develop a program for students to finish the school year. Trying to help my teenager with his online homework was a rocky road to say the least. There are reasons I never considered becoming a teacher. Lack of patience and a low tolerance level for developing teenagers are just a couple of them. 

Another reason why helping with schoolwork was so difficult is the number of years it has been since my own high school classes. Who can remember? 

Being a writer, I thought I could at least help with English. His class was studying Shakespeare. The first question on his homework was, “What would Machiavelli’s ‘The Prince’ have thought of Macbeth as a leader?” 

“OK, Machiavelli was the real devious guy and Macbeth was the one with the pushy wife, right?” I asked. 

So, maybe I couldn’t help with English that much. 

“Can’t we print out the questions? Then we can check them off instead of trying to read the tiny print on the small Ipad screen. Is there a bigger font?” I asked.  

My son rolled his eyes. 

“This would be a lot easier on paper.” 

He rolled his eyes again and looked at me like I was a chimp attempting to perform sign language. I heard myself saying, “Back in my day.” That was when I knew it was time to stop. 

Now that “helping” my son with his homework is done for the season, there are several tasks to tackle this summer. First among them: working on the yard. 

One of the most pervasive living things in the world has to be the weed. They are not dangerous, like viruses, but they are the nemesis of anyone with a lawn. 

If you spray them, they actually appear to mutate and get stronger. Try reseeding the grass and they pop up more than the grass does. Put mulch down and they come peeping out between the pieces like invasive creatures from the “Alien” movies. 

After pulling weeds for an hour, I stopped. The yard looked the same. Time to throw money at the problem and call in a professional lawn company. 

OK, I “solved” my yard problem with a phone call and a check. What now? Exercise, cut my hair, clean out my closet, pay bills? Or maybe it’s time to check the neighborhood Facebook page and see whose dog is pooping in whose yard and other important local news. 

I used to participate in the frequent political discussions but decided there are too many “keyboard warriors” out there who want to argue. Arguing is what family and friends are for, after all. 

Whatever I tackle next this summer, at least no schoolwork will be involved. Hats off to all the teachers in our community, enjoy the summer while it lasts! 



Jean Simmons is a Franklin resident and contributor to the Herald. She can be contacted at

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