More thoughts on summer
by Rick Watson
Jun 09, 2013 | 1199 views | 0 0 comments | 143 143 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Rick Watson
Rick Watson
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There’s just something about summer. I think people’s spirits are higher this time of year.

You have fresh watermelon, cantaloupe, and tomato sandwiches on lightly toasted bread. You add a swath of mayo and a dash or two of salt. Then you chase it with a glass of sweet tea so cold it could crack a tooth. It doesn’t get much better than that.

It’s always better when you grow your own tomatoes. I’m not sure why, but it’s been proven scientifically. OK, I lied about that, but I challenge anyone to prove me wrong.

Another fun thing about summer is river cruises with friends. We’ve never owned a boat, but fortunately we have friends who do.

When the sun burns off the morning fog, and the day heats up, there’s nothing like slipping into a pair of cutoff jeans, slathering up with sunscreen and heading to the river.

I looked up from my laptop for a brief moment just then as I waited for my mind to grasp a connecting thought, and there on my desk I noticed a picture of me along with Dr. Tom Camp, and Terry Fraiser. One of the girls, I think it was Tom’s wife Judy, shot the photo from the front of the boat, and you can see the wake behind us lapping the riverbank. I had my baseball cap on backwards so the wind wouldn’t snatch it off my head.

We’re smiling so broadly it’s a wonder we didn’t have bugs in our teeth.

The river is fun but it’s not the only meeting place in summer. We have friends and family over every few weeks to grill out. Jilda has become a master preparer of things to cook on the grill.

This week she prepared chicken, but along with the bird, she grilled romaine lettuce, tomatoes, bread, Vidalia onions, and peppers. Yum.

Ever so often, we’ll have our great nieces and nephews over and play croquet in the back yard. We have a set that we’ve had for over 20 years with wooden mallets, and red, blue, yellow and orange balls. When you tap one of the balls with the mallet, it sounds like it’s made of fine teakwood.

I make up my own rules as I play. The kids usually start howling shortly into the game, “You’re cheating.”

“Nope, it’s my yard, my game, and my rules,” I say. Ah, the joys of being the eccentric uncle.

The back yard no longer looks as though it’s a mud-wrestling arena, so we’re about to build an outdoor dining area out of stone.

We recently watched an older movie entitled Under the Tuscan Sun, and one of the scenes showed a group of friends, family and neighbors outside enjoying dinner. That scene resonated with both Jilda and I, so we’ve made it a priority to have an outdoor dining area of our own. I think food tastes better when you eat it outside.

I know there are a lot of gatherings around the holidays in late fall and winter, but oftentimes our stress level is off the charts, and it’s hard to let go enough to enjoy our loved ones. But that doesn’t seem to be the case in summer.

So, that’s my thoughts on summer. What are your favorite things you do in the summer?