I know summer doesn't officially begin until June 21, but as far as I'm concerned, Memorial Day weekend signals the beginning of the season. It's right around the time my son gets out of school, our neighborhood outdoor pool opens, and the cookout season begins!
When I was a child, summer was a lazy season. The only real activity was the dreaded swim lessons at the high school pool, and the only nice thing about them was stopping at our neighborhood soda fountain, Shaw's, for ice cream afterward. I liked to get vanilla hand dipped in chocolate shell, on a sugar cone.
The highlight of every summer came at the end, when our town had it's Labor Day weekend Art & Wine Festival. Everyone in town attended, and it was where you met up and caught up with all your friends from school. It was also where I got to see and appreciate tons of hand made art!
My son's having a very different experience of summer. As we moved to Colorado when he was turning 5, his memory is just of our mountain summers. Living at the foot of Pikes Peak means summer days begin warm, then cloud up for afternoon thunder showers and rain, then clear off again to warm, mild evenings. Every now and then we nervously contemplate heading to the basement when funnel clouds are reported -- but they rarely touchdown.
(By the way, this one did touch down and did some damage on Monday in the town my son is camping in! I haven't talked to him, but heard from some of the leaders that the boys spent some time that afternoon in the camp's storm shelter. I am remaining calm.)
There's no humidity at all here in the high desert, and on the plains we live pretty much bug free -- I think I've seen 2 mosquitoes in 7 years at home. No fleas either! But lots of moths, which keeps my kitty busy!
We walk the dogs, work in the yard, and catch all the flea markets and garage sales we can! We used to camp a lot but since my son goes on so many trips with Scouts, we seem to do that less as a family now. We love to catch Sky Sox games -- for me that's a highlight of summer!
This year, we're not traveling much; as I mentioned earlier, we're going to visit family in St. Louis next week but no beach vacations or trips back to California this year (*sob*)!
I love summer for the gastronomic delights: berries and melons in season, grilled meat, and the fact that I try not to turn on the oven at all, which means creative thinking in the kitchen!
Where I grew up, we had 70 degree weather just about year 'round, and the Bay kept it from ever getting too warm. There was no need for air conditioning, and maybe 1-1/2 weeks TOPS that it was truly hot enough to swim outdoors.
That's what I love about living here in Colorado: we get all the seasons, and you can count on there being several sweltering hot (but not humid!) weeks in the summer, where you can sit out on your patio all evening with your friends, and listen to the sounds of summer -- crickets chirping, kids running around outside, and the random firecracker.
What means summer to you in your neck of the woods?