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.