Bill Kirby

Online news editor for The Augusta Chronicle.

Myths of summer shattered

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Summer will end soon enough, and childhood as well.

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– 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.

Comments (3) Add comment
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Casting_Fool
1174
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Casting_Fool 07/22/12 - 08:36 am
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That's weird, I posted the

That's weird, I posted the comment below to this article, yesterday, and it was removed by this morning. I just can't see how this comment could have been worth censoring.
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That's funny, because the hand-cranked ice cream that I've had over the years has always been excellent. Frozen properly and occasionally flavored with fruit. Never a runny mess.

I feel for your deprived childhood. :O)

shrimp for breakfast
5460
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shrimp for breakfast 07/22/12 - 02:21 pm
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Hey Bill

When I was a kid we made homeade ice cream at least twice a week. It always turned out great. Maybe you were'nt holding your mouth right when you cranked. hehe
Seriously I don't understand how yours didn't turn out good.
By the way I saw a great bumper sticker yesterday. "Horn Broken, Watch for Finger!"
Ain't that a hoot!

shrimp for breakfast
5460
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shrimp for breakfast 07/22/12 - 02:24 pm
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one more thing

Growing up in Charleston we swam in creeks all the time. You couldn't see your hand in front of your face. I was never afraid of sharks. Now crabs was another story! Loved the waves at the beach!
John Glover

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