1. No School. As oft mentioned in these pages, I hated all forms of school (except gym). It began with Grade Four, and my dislike continued unabated. It could have rained every day in July; but no school? There was sunshine in my soul.
2. Swimming in the Sound. This has to be genetics, and possibly related to the “sun tan gene”. My Dad adored the water. Mom would say that the both of us we were part porpoise.
3. Watermelon. Today we can get “summer” fruit all year ‘round. But nothing can replace sitting in a yard, t-shirt off, eating watermelon and spitting pits at your Bedlington Terriers.
4. Honeysuckle. Before the scent of a perfumed woman caught my attention, there was the sweet smell of honeysuckle on a humid day.
5. Lightening Bugs (fire flies). The crickets and cicadas may have provided the concert… the lightening bugs were the light show.
6. Baseball Cards. I studied the brief bio’s and stats on the reverse sides. I would be a wealthy man today if I had kept them. But how good is it to love something when monetary value is not the object?
7. Sweet Corn. In August it would be “native”. But in July it was still great. Plenty of butter & a little salt. As a teenager, one time I ate 10 in one sitting. My Mother took careful note, and from then on, for future gatherings, I was staked to an even dozen (just in case).
8. Thunder Storms. The crack of thunder and a light burst. Noise and light show. The more the better. My Mom, thinking that I might be afraid, would tell me the angels were playing nine pins. I wasn’t afraid. I loved it.
9. Jimmies of Savin Rock. Sure, Brooklyn has Nathan’s; but we had Jimmies: home to split grill franks, butter soaked lobster rolls, fried belly clams, thick succulent French fries and freshly shucked clams on the half. Dad would park the car… we’d run up to the counter, order and take the food back to the car. Our “buffet” would be set up on the hood of the car, and we would dine with the ever present seagulls circling over head. West Haven had the best fed seagulls on planet earth.
10. Did I Mention No School? The joys of being a kid needed the refreshing relief from being in the classroom. When school ceased to be a part of my life, summer days changed. It’s not that I don’t enjoy a good swim, or eating sweet corn (I’m good for one or two) and even though watermelons are now seedless, I have been know to spit a cherry pit or two off our back deck. And if I happen by a hedge that’s laced with honeysuckle, the distinctive aroma lifts me back to those July days when to be not in school meant the world to me. Today, my vision of summer days are compressed into a series of Sundays… and I permit myself the supreme joy in knowing that come September (or in my case, Monday), I don’t have sit in a classroom, do math (which I hated), write book reports (which I was not good at), study for a test (which gave me unending worry). Still… without those things that I didn’t like, would I have been able to relish those things that I did like? Maybe it’s a good thing that today work is such a trial… and this Sunday? I think I will enjoy an adult beverage and a slice of watermelon!