Last week when I was doing some proofreading of the school menus for this week’s Houston Herald, I noticed something I found fascinating on several levels.

Under the Summersville heading, next to Monday and Tuesday are the words “No school, deer season.”

Still being relatively new to the jillikins, my first reaction was “wow.”

Doug Davison

Doug Davison

School holidays based on hunting big game.

A moratorium on kids multiplying numbers so they can use the time to do some subtracting of animals.

At first, I thought it was kind of odd. But the more I stared at the page and the more I processed the concept, the more I realized how cool the idea is.

We live in a day and age when most forms of heritage are taking a back seat to modernism and all things politically correct. I find the increasingly rapid disappearance of the country’s traditional values saddening and I don’t believe many things that qualify as politically correct are in anyone’s best interest.

So when I see something that seems to be directed toward preserving at least a portion of worthwhile heritage, I appreciate it. I find what the Summersville school district is doing not to be frivolous or silly, but instead somehow noble and commendable.

Nice to see something of this nature being embraced rather than receiving the old cold shoulder and upside down smile treatment.

Of course, it makes sense from a business angle, too. Classrooms in lots of small Missouri communities figure to have more than the average number of unoccupied desks during deer season, so why not acknowledge the unavoidable? From what I understand, school districts in several other communities are in fact doing just that by having their own deer days.

Of course, I hope many citizens of Summersville take advantage of the unusual opportunity and students aren’t just sitting around watching TV or playing video games on both of those days (but that couldn’t happen, now could it…).

Anyway, once I had gotten past the surprise and gladness brought on by the fact a community would actually observe a couple of days of firearms deer season as reason to shut down schools, my atypically wired brain wasn’t finished with the deal.

Next came the thought “why should the whole idea stop there?”

Why shouldn’t other communities around the country consider a similar tack and set aside days during times of year with local significance?

I’m not suggesting that anyone get out of control with it, but maybe this is a case where what’s good for one is OK for another.

At very least, it’s a case where humor and potential reality meet head on. Consider a few possibilities.

Maybe students in Talladega, Ala. should have a Thursday and Friday off in April and October in order to catch NASCAR testing and qualifying.

Perhaps kids in western Washington should get a couple of days off each year at the beginning of clam season so they can focus on digging up geoducks (it’s pronounced “gooey duck” and they’re those weird looking, gigantic clams with those ugly, long “necks” sticking out of their shells).

When March rolls around, kids in the Raleigh-Durham area of eastern North Carolina might benefit from a four-day weekend so they aren’t faced with having to miss Duke and North Carolina play first round games in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

If a groundhog (proper name is woodchuck – there’s your mammalian trivia for the day) named Punxsutawney Phil is going to be allowed to play a public role in forecasting weather conditions for a given year, then it stands to reason that students in Western Pennsylvania need to witness the event and get at a couple of days off to begin the month of February.

And I guess it shouldn’t be too surprising to see on the school menu page of a newspaper in Huntington Beach, Calif.: No school, surf’s up.

Obviously, most people would probably agree (me included) that Summersville’s deer days make more sense than some of these other ideas.

I’m just saying.

Doug Davison is a writer, copy editor and office worker for the Houston Herald. E-mail: ddavison@houstonherald.com.

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