Myths of summer shattered

Summer will end soon enough, and childhood as well.

 

– George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones

 

It’s time someone admitted, so I’ll go ahead.

Homemade ice cream, that often-glorified summertime favorite. That hand-cranked harbinger of all that’s good about the good old days was … almost always bad.

Look, I ate a ton of the stuff.

I packed the salt into the ice and cranked and cranked and waited and watched as it was finally scooped into my bowl, and I almost always lapped up a soupy, runny mess.

Thank goodness for chocolate sauce.

Sometimes that didn’t even help, like when the concoction froze and it was like eating a vanilla slushie. There’s a reason they don’t sell vanilla slushies at the Circle K.

It’s not a tasty combination.

I probably ate homemade ice cream in eight different states, 20 different counties, 100 different summer evenings.

I ate it with peaches. I ate it with strawberries. I ate it with nuts and whipped cream and bananas and butterscotch, and I never had any as good as the worst, cheapest, sorriest store brand on the bottom dairy shelf.

And don’t let me stop with ice cream.

Summer is full of old-time myths that need busting.

Two words: Swimming hole.

I jumped into my share of murky, muddy, rock-rimmed pools, a master at both shallow dives and shallow thinking. This is not so much stupid as it is dangerous.

Who knows what lurks beneath the surface?

Well, I didn’t, because I couldn’t see it.

These days, I’ll take a swimming pool anytime. I’ll take a swimming pool over a beach.

If I can’t have a swimming pool or a beach (and much of my life lacked access to either) I’ll lie on the grass under a lawn sprinkler.

It’s not only safer, but you don’t have to worry about what ends up in your mouth when you swallow.

What I can’t swallow is those who think nothing beats a natural breeze
wafting through a partially open window on a July night.

Opening a window in the summer is like telling a mosquito swarm, “The snack bar is open!” It’s like a red-light beacon at Krispy Kreme.

Not only that, but summer breezes are never cool enough to be comfortable … unless you live in Canada.

In a youth where air-conditioning was reserved for downtown movie theaters, I spent too many summer nights sweating through the darkness in the upstairs bedrooms of an old farmhouse.

Give me the hum of an air-conditioner pushing toward polar any day.

I’ll add blankets.

I’ll sleep like a baby.

I always do after a day in the pool, finished with a nightcap bowl of store-bought ice cream.

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