Behold the Summer of Darin

It happens every year.

Memorial Day weekend comes upon us, I start getting a little excited about all the really cool things I’m going to do that summer and I start to make a mental list on prioritizing them all — just to make certain that those things I REALLY want to do get done for sure.

And then it’s Labor Day weekend, and I have a list with no check marks, and a body and mind limping to the finish line after another exhausting summer season.

It amazes me in a way. I can go away for vacation for a week, and do more than I do an entire summer season living here at the beach. August is not much different from November. I wake up, get ready for work, come home and go to sleep. The only differences are that I come home a bit later in the summer and Bob Bertram wears more revealing clothing.

Let me apologize to everybody for that visual. Better? Good. Now, back to our story.

My point is that this is the year I actually enjoy this little oasis we call home. I vow to make a little more time to go out and take advantage of all that is available, or at least stick my toes in and enjoy a little bit of what is around me.

So, without further adieu, here’s my list of must-do’s for this season:

• I will get to the beach. There have been several summers when I have not even stepped foot on the sand, and that’s just a waste. I’m not necessarily saying I’m going to be out there with Mark Hardt in my Speedo playing beach volleyball every day, but I’m getting out to the beach at some point.

• I’m going fishing. Granted, there is a better chance of me receiving a nomination for the United States Supreme Court than yours truly baiting a hook or touching an icky fish, but I am getting out and killing off some time with some fishing. Doesn’t make sense, right? Don’t care. This is my list. Go make your own.

• I’m having a barbecue. I’ve had a few with varying success, but I want to do it right this year, with hot dogs, burgers, chicken, a moon bounce, jugglers, fireworks, a small band of gypsies performing string ensembles ...

But I digress.

• I’m going to get out on a kayak this year. For years, I’ve heard Susan Lyons boast about how great it is to get back in the canals on a kayak and just drift off into your own little world. I tried it last year. I liked it. Well, once I got over the fear of drowning in something shaped like a banana I liked it.

• I’m going to have a picnic. That’s right, I’m going to pack up a little meal in a basket, grab a bottle of wine and a classic novel and head out to the shade of a...

Sorry, I was laughing too loud to finish that thought. I’m not going on a picnic.

• I’m going to get one of those deep-down-body-tans this summer. For the first time in years, I will not wind up the season looking like the bright light they use to interrogate prisoners. Don’t worry, neighbors. There will be tan lines. But I refuse to spend another Labor Day weekend standing on top of the Sea Colony towers in the fog to warn boats that they are approaching land.

I’ll give you a second on that one. Got it? Good.

• I’m going to exercise. Now, before you get too excited and start flooding me with names of personal trainers and miracle work-out equipment, I’m going to go very slow. I kind of figured I’d start out with walking to the beach from my car, and see where it goes from there.

• Pie. I’m eating lots of pie. I think the exercise one just took a hit.

• I’m going to do more with the dogs this summer. They love going on walks at James Farm, and I’m going to get them out there a lot more frequently this summer. For one thing, they like the sights and smells of something new. For another thing, I think they get a little too used to the air conditioning for my comfort. Last year, I caught the pug standing on the shar-pei’s shoulders and turning the thermostat to 65. That’s where I draw the line. I’m kind of like a tyrant that way.

• Atlantic City will not be my only summer destination this year. I love heading out there every chance I get, but I think I’ll mix up my travel a little this summer. Or, maybe not.

Though former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson has been little more than a general menace to society over the years, your heart has to go out to him over the loss of his daughter, Exodus, earlier this week. The 4-year-old died in a tragic accident at home, and you don’t wish that on anybody.