So Long, Summer

August 22, 2011

Tomorrow my son starts school again. Tomorrow. The summer days that stretched so alluringly ahead of us are gone—just like that! Though I’ll miss being able to wake up without an alarm clock most days, I can’t say I’ll be sorry to see summer go. That makes me sad, because I used to love summer.

When I was a child in California, summer meant visits to my father and to my grandparents’ 22-acre farm. It meant trips to the beach with my friends, tennis team practice, and frozen yogurt at the Cow Palace. It meant listening to music (records! on a turntable!) for hours, reading while lying on the couch and the occasional Dodger game. These were summer rituals I looked forward to all year.

Now that I live in Florida, I don’t love summer anymore. Summer now means trying not to suffocate in the humidity, and, as an adult, there is little lessening of my normal responsibilities. Still, I do have some summer rituals that I enjoy and that help me make it through the hot months:

Family vacation to a rented lake house in Georgia.

Sunday afternoons by—and in—the pool. When you’re wet, it’s almost comfortable to be outside. I take the Sunday paper and my crossword puzzle book out with me.

Tampa Bay Rays baseball game. They play in an air conditioned dome!

Reading a writer’s biography. This year it was Dared and Done: The Marriage of Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning. In previous years I’ve read about Louisa May Alcott and Edna St. Vincent Millay.

Reading a “classic.” Summer really does have a more relaxed feel…perfect for slowly digesting a classic piece of fiction. I haven’t done this yet, but I can still get started before summer ends. Any recommendations for a readable classic?

Movies as a family. This is harder and harder to do with a 16-almost-17-year-old, but we all wanted to finish the Harry Potter saga together.

Pedicures. What with all the bare feet and sandal wearing, every summer I like to get at least one pedicure. It feels so luxurious to have someone paint my toenails!

I hope your summer has been full of long, lazy days, cool drinks and relaxed explorations. I’m always looking for more ways to make summer fun, so—what are your favorite summer rituals?

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  1. Ripping August off the calendar and hoping for some sign of fall in September. Seriously, enjoying the summer thunderstorms that come with such spectacular lightning shows. Enjoying the "green-ness" of nature at this time of year. And lazy lunches with good friends.

  2. Summer can't be gone quick enough for me - I hate the heat, especially since the hot flashes have really kicked in lately (TMI? sorry!). Your toenails sure look nice - I've only had one pedicure in my life, but it was really nice. I may have to make that my new summer ritual!

  3. And I meant to comment about classics. I don't read many, but a few I would recommend are 1984, A Room With A View, and The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter (not sure all are considered classics - what makes a book a classic?).

  4. Laure--I'm looking forward to turning the page into September as well. Guess we'll just have to relax--maybe during one of those lunches--until the weather cools down a little.

  5. Cheryl--I'm glad I'm not the only one hating the hot weather. I feel like such a whiner! My husband knows that a gift certificate for a pedicure is a winning gift, so he or my son give me one usually for Mother's Day or my birthday. Thanks for the book recommendations--I consider a classic to be a book that has stood the test of time, and one whose writer is generally recognized as "important" in the development of literature. However, if I can't get into the book, I put it aside, because even using those criteria there are far more classics out there than I'll ever be able to read. And that's a good thing!

  6. Hi Kathy,

    I enjoyed reading about your summer days, old and new ... and I just don't think that I could live in Florida. Oh, your feet look so pretty!

    Glad that you had lots of fun, and hope that it cools down for you pretty soon. Love those Rays, they are doing good; it was fun to watch them play the Mariners. Johnny Damon sure did show them all on that last game, lol!

    God bless,

    Kathy M.

  7. Kathy--If I lived in Oregon, I'd have a hard time moving to Florida, believe me! I forgot the Rays were playing the Mariners and that you'd get to see the games, too. The Rays are playing pretty well right now, but it's tough when you share a division with the Yankees and the Red Sox.

  8. I have a little fantasy of someday living somewhere temperate. I don't think it will be Florida! :) Nebraska is bad enough. Maybe Washington or Oregon--I don't mind rain. The kids are all back in school here, too. It's nice having the college kids back--the university campus where I work has come alive again. Enjoy the rest of your summer. If you're looking for a good classic two of my favs are A Room with a View and Persuasion!

  9. Danielle--I have fantasies of moving to the Pacific Northwest, too. Maybe someday we'll meet up there!

    Thanks for the classics recommendations: I've actually read and enjoyed both of those! I'm wondering if Wilkie Collins' The Woman in White qualifies as a classic?