(I'm not sure what The Cars meant by those lyrics, but they seemed to fit, so just go with it, mmmkay?)
As I was sitting in Mark's truck last night, waiting on him to feed an out of town neighbor's dogs and listening to Riverwalk Jazz on NPR, I decided there is nothing more iconic or definitive than southern summers. On this drizzly, humid night in Georgia, a lightening bug lit up right outside the windshield, and somehow, that one little neon bug seemed to remind me of everything a southern summer is.
There are the tangible things, sure, that are iconic of southern summers. Popscicles, swimming pools, hundreds of lightening bugs littering the backyard, fresh vegatables straight from the garden, barbeques, Braves baseball, listening to pretty much any Kenny Chesney song ever written, the taste of ripe watermelon never quite leaving your mouth because you eat as much of it as you can get, sunny days and the inevitable early evening thunder shower. I can't think of a summer when all of these things were not present, day in and day out.
But there are also those intangibles that seem to be the underlying icons of southern summers. The pace slows. One may be more content to sit on a back porch and watch lightening bugs light up then fade out for hours upon end, not really worrying about the dishes in the sink or the work that didn't get done behind your desk earlier that day, or even what's on tv. No, watching those neon lights on a bug's butt is entertainment enough for you. Becoming less and less pretentious about your appearance, I would say, would be another one of those underlying icons. As the weather gets hotter and hotter, the sleeves keep getting shorter, the hems shrink, until you're somehow dying to tug on that bathing suit so you can jump into a relatively cool body of water. (And fixing your hair? Don't even think about it.) And is it just me, or does everyone become friendlier in the summer? Everyone's outdoors; neighbors stop by for a quick chat on their evening walk; block parties; boaters waving at each other; parks ripe with picnics; making friends at a Braves game; man, everyone is just friendlier, aren't they?
I am always so thankful for the months of May through September in Georgia because it means I can do all of things I love to do the most. And the top thing on that list is to be on a boat, on some relatively cool body of water, with a drink in my hand and a tuber trailing behind. That's where I'll be today and tomorrow, thank goodness. And if my boat passes yours, expect a wave - I'll expect one back! - and let's raise our light beers to summer. Cheers!
Everyone have a safe and happy Memorial Day!