Usually I kick into full summer mode the minute the school children have closed their last day of the semester. But this year has been different for some reason. Long after the final school bell, I kept thinking to myself that it didn’t feel like summer to me.
Yes, there have been many signs of summer in my life: brightly painted toenails, flip flops, fresh cut grass, freshly picked herbs for cooking, and many more. For some reason I just couldn’t get into the summer swing of things; the grinch stole summer and I was becoming quite desperate to get it back.
I tried a few things to jump-start my summer state of mind. I relaxed in the hammock in the backyard, got a scorching sunburn (different occasion), sipped on fresh squeezed lemonade, and even changed my regular toenail polish color to a bright pink.
This was getting serious. Just weeks ago I brought out the big guns with the help of my husband. He took me to the Dairy Queen drive-thru. Surely it would feel like summer after my first blizzard of the season! Yeah, not so much.
I was starting to get a little frustrated on my quest for that summer feeling. So I just stopped trying so hard. And you know what? Summer arrived. Let me tell you how it happened.
A friend of mine delivered freshly picked raspberries from her patch in the backyard. As soon as I popped one in my mouth my taste buds screamed, “It’s summer!” I flashed back to so many sunny, muggy afternoons when Grandma Helen and I would pick pails of raspberries on the family farm.
Desperate to keep my summer ideal going, I continued to do other summer type things. I sat on the porch while writing my column, I took my dog for an extremely long walk down by the river, I purchased a birdfeeder for the backyard, and I made a point to pay attention to the sunset.
Summer seemed to have arrived in my mind. Little did I know that there was more right around the corner.
Last week we had a fantastic barbecue with the neighbors. The cream cheese stuffed, bacon wrapped jalapeño appetizers sizzled on the grill as they waited for the ribs and brats of the main course to join them. About a dozen friends and neighbors relaxed in the backyard while the homeowner fired up the sprinkler for the three kids in the group. The kids – ages 3, 7, and 11 – erupted from the house in their water attire and showed no fear.
The 7-year-old boy stood next to a large bucket of water, filling his water gun, and plotting to drench his older sister. In the moments it took to fill his bright neon water weapon his whole body shook with excitement.
“This is the best July ever!” he shrieked to no one in particular.
Each one of the adults at the table brought forth an unexpected belly laugh. With a simple reminder of childlike excitement for this season, I settled in to enjoy the rest of this sizzling time of year.
And it seemed so easy. Maybe it is.