Editor’s note: Jean revisits a column from May 2015. While Memorial Day 2020 has indeed passed, this column still rings true now.
It’s so close, so very close. I’m nearly mad with desire for its embrace. The anticipation is causing me no end of nervous twitching and general malaise created by the fact I can’t fast track its onset.
Summer. Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about.
Oh, the lazy, hazy, slip yer toes into a creek, SPF 578 sunscreen slathered on, bugs and bees bugging and beeing, distant hums of lawn mowers, weedeaters and air conditioners disrupting the otherwise tranquil sound of burgers on the grill.
What’s that you say? It’s warm weather now? We can enjoy all this and more in the here and now?
I think not.
Well, not so you’d notice anyway. See, the official start of summer ain’t here yet, and even that green flag of glorious fun in the sun isn’t the true beginning, either.
Memorial Day weekend, for as long as I can remember, has been the launch pad for summer activities. Neveryoumind that Memorial Day has not always been a long weekend holiday (thank you, Congress) and its design to honor our fallen Armed Forces members has nothing to do with summer festivities. I’ll even poo-poo your notion that summer doesn’t actually hit its calendar get-go until June 21. But no matter how warm and pretty and inviting our spring is, it just isn’t the same as the Memorial Day opening ceremonies.
So until we get to MD (I love abbreviations), we’ll just have to consider these days we’re in now just a practice run, a sheer veil separating us from bona fide summer. And vacations. And cookouts. And relaxing by a pool or lake. And baseball games. And lightning bug collections.
I’ve not always been a summer lover, to be honest. I don’t do heat very well, especially with humidity, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve noticed a strong like developing for our mid-year weather. Maybe it’s because I don’t do cold as well as I used to, and my pendulum of tolerance is swinging in the other direction.
Whatever the reason, I’ve found myself counting the days until we could jump into summer full speed. Oh, how I’ve been counting.
And chomping at the bit. My impatience is growing by the day and I’m straining mightily against the reins holding me back.
It is time for mater sammiches. (That would be tomato sandwiches for the uninitiated. Or Yankees.)
It is time for sandals and flip flops, shorts and capris and anything sleeveless will do.
It is time for spring flowers to drop blooms and settle in for their simple-yet-perfect show of green foliage. Trees are in full leaf and shading all the right spots in the yard, waving in breezes bringing cooler air and sudden rain squalls.
It is time for ice-cold watermelons sliced open and seed-spitting contests organized. Salt is optional.
It is time for lemonade, iced tea and Kool-Aid in the fridge at all times.
It’s time for dirty, bare feet tracking in the kitchen after hard play with the neighborhood kids.
It is time for freezer pops, any and all flavors.
It’s time for dogs to be flopped out on cool hardwood floors or linoleum, and cats, who harbor heat all the rest of the year, to give it up and stretch out to incredible lengths near a fan or air conditioner vent.
It is time for home-made ice cream.
It’s time for babies to be introduced to shallow pools in which to splash and the first-time feel of grass tickling their toes.
It is time for burgers and dogs on the grill, tater salad and coleslaw, and corn on the cob dripping in butter.
It is time for bottle rockets and sparklers and firecrackers lighting up the night.
It is time for falling asleep in a lawn chair under a favorite shade tree.
It is time. But not quite yet.
-Jean Henderson is a columnist for the Citizen Tribune.