“How was your vacation?” used to be the standard query at Labor Day. Not this year.

For many people summer vacation became summer furlough.

We took walks, but instead of stopping to chat with neighbors, we crossed the street as they approached. Handshakes and hugs were replaced by waves.

Buying produce at farmers’ markets gave way to planting veggies in containers on the fire escape.

We found time to clean the garage and discovered camping gear that reminded us how summer used to be.

The book bag sat next to our couch, not beside a beach chair. Those who ventured to the shore wound up on the news as social-distancing scofflaws.

Televised sports were better than nothing – but not by much. Baseball was turned over to The Cardboard Fans of Summer.

The truck at the curb brought Amazon staples, not summer treats from the Good Humor man.

Watching multiple episodes of old TV shows was no longer considered bingeing – it became a nightly routine.

Back on Memorial Day, Zooming was exciting. By Labor Day it was a drag.

Presidential politics devolved into virtual conventions that played like infomercials.

We read lengthy commentaries about the new normal: Will men ever wear ties again? Will women wear heels?

Dr. Anthony Fauci, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and others who guided us through spring wilted in summer.

Kids didn’t write papers about “How I Spent My Summer Vacation.”

It was steamy in many places. Smokey in others. Storms punished the Midwest and the Gulf. It was as if nature, too, had misplaced the season.

I used to live for summer. This year, I’m grateful just to have lived through it.

Peter Funt is a writer and speaker. His book, “Cautiously Optimistic,” is available at Amazon.com and CandidCamera.com. © 2020 Peter Funt.