A Final Thought: Here’s to the month of June


By Mitch Allen

Life can be a challenge living along the icy shores of the Great Lakes. Back in late February, I went for a walk along Lake Erie at Mentor Lagoons Nature Preserve. It was surreal. The thick shore ice in all directions seemed like the surface of the moon, with jagged peaks of upturned ice farther out in the lake as if there had been an earthquake.

It was impossible to tell where the shore ended and the lake began. I would have been afraid were it not for the footprints of the brave souls who had made the walk before me.

Fresh fish blown in from a storm rested on the ice as if being displayed at a local fishmonger’s shop, and along the shore the black limbs of leafless trees waved in the wind like a thousand admonishing fingers, asking, “What are you doing here?”

It can be cold along the lake; just ask the National Football League. All six NFL teams without a cheerleading squad are located in states that border one of the Great Lakes—Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bears, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, Buffalo Bills and New York Giants.

It’s not that these teams are so “woke” that they refuse to sexualize young women at sporting events. Instead, they just can’t find any women willing to wear short shorts and midriff tops this close to where the Edmund Fitzgerald went down. You will, however, find quite a few men dressed like that in the Dawg Pound at Cleveland Stadium.

But it is no longer February. It is almost June, when Jack Frost fully retreats to the bottom of the globe. We’re Clevelanders, right? We expect snow flurries for the Indians home opener in April.

But in May?

Well, certainly. Every year we feign surprise and frustration at the cold of May, but it happens. In fact, Cleveland got .2 inches of snow on May 11 just last year.

Expected or not, May flurries always make me sigh heavily and look at my shoes.

That is why I love the month of June. It makes not having a Cleveland Browns cheerleading squad completely worth it. Snow flurries have not been reported in June in Cleveland since 1842. In June, the tomato plants are in the ground, the mulch has been spread, and we can finally sit back with a gin and tonic and enjoy the fruits of our labor, secure in the knowledge that our sweaters and sweatshirts are safely stashed away in Rubbermaid containers until October when we ask, “Does anyone remember where we put the sweatshirts?”

In June, the flowers are blooming and the messiness of plant sexual reproduction is over. No more helicopter seeds flying from the sugar maples. No more catkins (those golden tassels) falling from the pin oaks. No more pollen giving a coat of greenish-yellow dust to the upholstery of my 1996 Mazda Miata convertible. By the way, driving the Miata through the Cuyahoga Valley National Park and having a burger on the patio of Fisher’s Café & Pub in Peninsula is my idea of a perfect summer day...assuming the car starts.

I also cherish the month of June because July brings with it early signs of fall. The leaves of hostas and daylilies begin to brown along the edges as our lawns of Kentucky blue grass grow dry and crisp begging for water. Worse, after July 4th, my friends start talking about back-to-school and Browns pre-season football. At these mentions, I cover my ears. In our house, no one is allowed to utter the f-word (“fall”) until the third week of August.

It’s the law.

I will especially enjoy this June, because I will at last be able to hug my friends and kiss them on the cheek, and once again shop my favorite local businesses masklessly.

(Spellcheck, apparently, doesn’t like the word “masklessly,” but, man, I do.)

Here’s to friends, to gathering and traveling again, to sunshine.

Here’s to June.


Categories: Smart Living