About every morning, I walk around the neighborhood with my Mississippi mudhound, Bix. I often anticipate problems that await me at work, or daydream about sitting in the sand by an oil-free Gulf of Mexico.
Some days, though, I wake up.
Earlier this week, I felt heat rising off the pavement, heard bugs chanting in the trees and remembered my days as a latch-key kid in summer, when the streets were bare, except for my friends and me.
– “It was a splendid summer morning and it seemed as if nothing could go wrong.”
– John Cheever
Since the thermometer decided nothing less than the mid-90s will do, there’s been plenty of complaining about the heat.
Even so, I’ve made a point to roll the windows down on the way home from work, to feel what the season has to offer.
Yeah, it’s hot, then a stray breeze brings old-fashioned relief when it hits the sheen of sweat that so quickly develops.
– “Ah, summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it.”
– Raymond Duncan
I’m not advocating spending the day exposed to the sun’s full-blown power, unless you’re interested in making payments on your dermatologist’s summer home.
Still, my friends and I were free-range kids, riding bikes, hiking through trails and swimming whenever we could.
It’s a wonder, when you think about it, how much comfort the shade of a willow tree can offer a kid who’s got a couple of buddies with him and access to a water hose.
– “Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.”
– John Lubbock
Summer days were long, and I spent a good portion of that time inside. We had TV and video games, and I frittered away many hours playing “Asteroids” and “Space Invaders.”
I also had access to all the books I wanted, and I got to meet d’Artagnan and “The Three Musketeers.”
– “I was lucky enough not to face any required summer reading lists until I went to college. So I still think of summer as the best time to read for fun.”
– Margaret Haddix
Perhaps I’ve given the impression my best summers are past. If so, that’s a mistake. The season’s never lost its power to charm; I just forget to pay attention sometimes.
Wonder why that is?
– “Summer is the time when one sheds one’s tensions with one’s clothes, and the right kind of day is jeweled balm for the battered spirit. A few of those days and you can become drunk with the belief that all’s right with the world.”
– Ada Louise Huxtable
M. Scott Morris is a Daily Journal entertainment writer. Contact him at (662) 678-1589 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
M. Scott Morris/NEMS Daily Journal