As we head towards summer's end
one can't help but feel a bit cheated.
Often the things we long for most
are fleeting at best. As kids summer
was an endless vacation away from
reality. In those days before we had
soccer camp, play dates, and the like
we spent most of our time at play.
No structure, no schedule, little to no
responsibility. Maybe that's why we
all feel cheated when as adults there
is no way we can take two months
off. Being a grown up isn't any fun!
I think of my parents whenever it gets
hot. Ethel hated air conditioning. And
so we all had to shift our approach to
living each summer. Almost all of the
normal rules were suspended if for no
other reason than we were too hot to
be bothered. Today I find that living
in rural Montana is almost like taking
a time machine back to one's youth.
Locals keep the windows open, sit
out on the front porch, take evening
strolls around the neighborhood, and
actually stop and talk to one another.
My mother adored her morning pot
of coffee. All of my childhood she
religiously used a small aluminum
percolator to brew her sludge. But
during the summer months she made
more than enough so that with dinner
she could sip on a large glass of iced
coffee with cream and sugar added.
And if I was really good - I would be
rewarded with a large glass of chilled
milk with about two tablespoons of
java added as a treat. Suddenly I was
almost an adult. Boy was that fun!
Light n' easy
Ethel kept things simple during
the summer. With her hair in a
french twist, a swipe of lipstick,
and a freshly pressed day dress
she was ready to go. Somehow
she seemed happier sans all of
her normal accoutrements. Of
course I lived in shorts and tees
with a liberal swath of suntan
lotion to protect my pallor. Or
a slightly damp swim suit. Now
just a whiff of Sea & Ski takes
me back to those happy times.
Everything happened later during the
summer. Post a long day at the office
Dad would take an even longer cold
bath. Thus we never dined until well
after eight during July and August.
Rather than a formerly set table in
the dining room, our summer repasts
were often al fresco. After donning a
polo and some shorts Howard would
fire up the Hibachi. And soon plump
chicken breasts would be sizzling
away. And somehow they tasted so
much better than ordinary poultry!Back to the future
I have many summer memories of my
children. Post Memorial Day we'd pack
everything up and travel to our home in
southwestern Michigan. There our days
were spent at the beach. At the end of a
day everyone hosed off at the side door.
Yet there was always a touch of sand on
the floor and in the tub. I'll never forget
our final, golden summer in that house.
Even today, whenever I want to go to a
happy place - I simply return back to
that house in my head. Wouldn't it be
wonderful if time could stand still?
Winter of our discontent
All good things must come to an end.
And all too soon the colder weather
will be upon us. With autumn comes
pumpkins, Halloween, and comfort
food. Before we know it we have to
prepare for the holidays. Yet somehow
all of that activity never quite matches
the sublime joy of summer's freedom.
Therefore for most of us we count the
days until we're once again barefoot
and fancy free. Now, get out of the
house and have some fun before this
summer is over! Ready, set, GO!