Okay, all is forgiven. For the first time this year I sat outside after finishing my work late last week, with my feet propped up and a beverage in my hand, enjoying the warmth of the sun on my face.
I feel as though I can breathe easy again, knowing summer is coming after all, and everything will be alright.
Isn’t it funny how we never seem to see the end of winter come fast enough? And then, of course, once the hot weather hits, we groan about how incredibly hot it is. I have heard it said that one of the reasons there are so many great Canadian comedians is because of our extreme climate.
We come from a nation where people will spend their first camping trip in winter garb just to say they made the annual May long weekend trek. It is the land where in years like this one, planting the garden on that same famous weekend is unadvisable in some parts due to frost and wind. But we persevere.
And now, here we are with the solstice in sight and all those frostbitten memories are behind us.
All we have left to complain about is the plethora of dandelions (see last week’s column for said complaints). Then there is the sudden heat rash we suffer from the first day out mowing or gardening.
Nevertheless, beverage coolers are dusted off, kiddie pools are seen dotting lawns again and suddenly the sale of potato chips plummets and fresh veggies are popular as we all try to get back to a bathing-suit-friendly shape.
It is not just the better temperatures that make for warmer memories from summers past. There seems to be some midsummer fairy magic that makes those times seem some of the best.
I remember the joy of finding the perfect dandelion seed pod. My mom even figured out that larger pods could be preserved whole if you got them carefully inside and sprayed them with a bit of hairspray. How cheered I was to hear this is still special. One of my Guide leader friends told me that her little son likes to blow the seeds willy-nilly to the wind and then hand her the stem as a gift. I also discovered that despite technology they still thwart the average lawn aficionado. Our neighbour was seen last Sunday with the vacuum cleaner under his arm, hose in hand as he tackled each stem.
I know this will sound corny, but I love the taste of water from the garden hose. It seems just slightly poetic that we have come around to a time when this might be acceptable again, what with the processing and cost of plastic water bottles. Kids might not walk to school (at least not unescorted) but at least when they play in their own yard they can drink the water.
Summer sounds are joyful, like the ones made by kids playing later into the evening as that lovely sun lingers on the horizon. It always felt decadent to know I could stay out for longer as summer began. Once summer started you could go out after dinner and have time for a whole other adventure from the one you had before dinner.
My dad always said carrots tasted best when they still had dirt on them, and I thought he was being silly. I had the first radishes and lettuce from the garden last weekend and I remembered what a smart guy my dad was. The taste of a garden root veggie just rubbed in the grass and eaten fresh out of the ground is one of those experiences that even a five-star restaurant cannot match.
Here are some things you can do here in our part of the world that will give you an old-fashioned taste of summer:
• Visit the farmer’s market for veggies that still have dirt on them. Soon you’ll be able to pick apricots off the tree, too.
• Take a trip with your sweetie to Enderby to see a drive-in movie at the Starlight. Did you know it has North America’s largest screen?
• Go for old-fashioned hard ice-cream cones with your kids and sit outside eating them. Teach them about how you push the top scoop gently down, so it doesn’t fall off
• Set up your lawn sprinkler and run through it (this is best done while squealing in delight . If the neighbours laugh, invite them over to try it.
If you have kids, this will help show them the value of making those warm memories. If you don’t have kids, it will remind you we are never too late to have a happy childhood.
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.