A Final Thought: For the love of summer


By Mitch Allen

Last week I received a spam email from Lowe’s, the home improvement store, letting me know that it’s time for their annual patio clearance. They promised big savings on patio furniture, grills and outdoor power equipment.

My heart sank. I swallowed hard.

Is summer over? I began to weep.

How can this be? I still have a pile of mulch in my driveway.

This is one of the few things I don’t like about Northeast Ohio. As soon as we toss out the mustard-stained paper plates and red Solo cups from our Fourth of July picnics, everyone starts talking about back-to-school and pumpkin beer.

In my day, we didn’t go back to school until after Charo said “cuchi-cuchi” on the Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon, and no one thought to ruin a perfectly good beer by flavoring it with a gourd.

Hey, it’s only July. Don’t get the hay wagon out of the barn just yet. Many of the corn stalks at Szalay’s are barely knee-high so stop posting Facebook memes that show Linus van Pelt dancing in the pumpkin patch.

Yeah, I know it’s hot, but it’s not that hot. It’s not makeup-melting, sweat-in-your-butt-crack, gnats-in-your-ear, Alabama hot. Spend a summer on the front porch of an un-air conditioned Honoraville, Alabama, farmhouse downwind from two chicken houses then you can complain about the heat. For three months a year, Northeast Ohio enjoys the same weather that Hawaii has year ‘round. Why would anyone want to rush that?

And don’t talk to me about fall color. You trade two weeks of beautiful color for six long months of cold, grey, winter. That’s not a good deal. Heck, I’m gonna ask Donald Trump to cancel that deal and negotiate a better one.

In my house, “fall” is the f-word. We don’t have fall spices in our spice rack—no nutmeg, cinnamon or allspice—and every year I plead with my wife to skip the autumn decorations. I like my corn-on-the-cob fresh, plump and juicy, not dried hard and placed in a wicker basket with a random collection of warty gourds and tied with an orange ribbon.

I’ll take shorts over sweaters, bike rides over hayrides, charcoal grills over crock pots, lawn mowers over leaf blowers, and a refreshing gin and tonic over hot apple cider.

We already lost June, remember? It got washed into the Cuyahoga River by the monsoons. So let’s take our time with July. Sip it slowly like a mint julep or a tall glass of sweet iced tea. Get up early. Stay out late.

Yeah, I know. There are mosquitos. Don’t worry about it. If you get bitten, put some Windex on it.

A few years ago, when my lawn service called to offer me grub control, I asked if the treatment also killed firefly larva. The young salesperson didn’t know and had to call me back.

Yes, she reported, it probably does.

No, thank you, I said.

Come to think of it, I suppose God made both fireflies and mosquitos to bring a little into balance to our lives. Well, that being said, if I can learn to tolerate mosquitos, perhaps I can come to tolerate fall.

But not if you rush me.


Categories: Smart Living