Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Summertime and the Livin' is Easy

There are numerous things that make summer so special. Some of these contributing factors date back to childhood memories and some we have come to appreciate more as adults. But summer is unlike any other season.

It's a tranquil time of year. That does not mean that nothing occurs or that it is in any way boring. Simply there are so many possibilities to enjoy without a lot of effort. Remember those old ads for Country Time Lemonade? Summer brings alive a world of walking barefoot through meadows of tall grass to an awaiting glass of lemonade. Every Country Time commercial was like taking a trip through some idyllic wonderland. For all I know, those commercials are still running, but I haven't seen them in years. Still the images remain clear and accurately depict a summer experience that we would all enjoy.

Life is easier -- at least, in many parts of the country -- because we seldom need to fuss with wearing or bringing additional outdoor clothing. Personally, I enjoy wearing jackets and coats and coordinating my apparel. Snuggling into a nice warm jacket is sensational. But having to pick a jacket, wear a jacket, remove a jacket and find a place to hang/lay it on arrival gets a bit old after a few months. Summer is simple. Arrive. Leave. Not complicated.

Most people are at least somewhat able to "take it down a notch" in the summer. Postal carriers and UPS drivers have moved into short uniforms, a sure signal that we can all relax our fashion sense for now. Wearing something that is comfortable is key. However, a tip to all readers: that does not mean that "jammy" pants and flip flops are suitable for public wear, although I see these items daily. Unfortunately, some people have either no taste in clothing or sense of propriety, so I have given up fighting this issue. That does not mean that I will "join them" and will continue making at least some effort to look crisp despite humidity.

It's a chance to try different foods. Rather than heat up the kitchen and the entire house to cook, it's nice to grill outside. It's the one time of the year that men seem to enjoy taking charge of meat preparation and sharpening their skills. Women should welcome this opportunity, too. It's fun to indulge in such summertime favorites as baked beans, deviled eggs and fresh fruit. Such goodies are to be enjoyed during summer's warmth because they seem a bit out of place when there is snow on the ground.

Life shows down in the summer. School is out so the daily schedule is entirely altered. We can sleep a little later, linger over our lunch and enjoy an afternoon popsicle on the patio. Adults still work but thoughts of vacation time and family outings are mental exercise that we all enjoy. Trips are planned and squeezed into long weekends whenever possible. In most cases, these are easier, too since it's the one time of the year when the weather is likely to be good. Storms do occur, of course, but are not likely to involve plowing the driveway. Be sure to tuck an umbrella into your suitcase, just in case.

There are chores inherent with summer that don't occur the rest of the year. Lawn mowing is a necessity and has such a long history of obligation that entire groups of men and boys earn extra income from performing this task for the rest of us. We all become so concerned with our yards that we spiff up the trees and bushes, plant flowers and even adorn our front yards and porches with comfortable furniture. In the summer I see people that rarely seen during the rest of the year as they walk, bike or stroll by in the early morning and evening. Summer weather brings out the socially inclined folks everywhere.

Some activities are part of summer and only summer. The local swimming pool opens each year after Memorial Day. It is open only during the summer and is a destination that many enjoy. Parks are welcoming all year around, but especially in the summer. Even on the warmest days, picnickers can find shade and enjoy a quick bite with a cool drink. It's easy and wonderful. Bikes get brought out from storage to have their chains oiled and their tires inflated. Bring out the inline skates and other toys for enjoyment. Make use of the sunshine.

I know people who dread summer, who begin in March saying things like, "I love this weather, but I know what's coming." Like many things in life, weather and summer are pretty much what we make of them.

We should make the most of summer and enjoy each day.

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