The Summer we know and love

June 14, 2018

14  comments

Summer, Autumn, Winter (“Winnie”) and Spring are friends of my sons. Two are adorable, one is a tart, and the other will be a beauty someday — as soon as she grows into her teeth, bless her heart.  With absolutely no connection to these young ladies whatsoever, and thinking only of the calendar, I have to say Summer is my absolute favorite.

 

The Southern summer air really does feel thicker, which slows us down a bit more than usual, and if your son is (un)fortunate enough to make the All-Star play-offs, you’ll sit through the longest, hottest baseball games of your life watching the ball seemingly hang in mid-air while you question if it was really possible you shivered beneath sweaters at the start of the season.

 

I’ve been North to Michigan and Massachusetts during the summer and have to admit they have a few good things going on. I’ve never seen such cute, tiny mosquitoes — smaller than your hand, and I think everyone is required to carry a preppy little sweater because they’ve somehow arranged for the temperatures to magically drop once the sun sets. I was unprepared for this phenomenon and had to rush to the tourist shop to purchase a sweatshirt — in August, of all things.

 

For some reason, even though the North has cooler summers, insects that don’t carry off small children and plenty of opportunities to wear cute sweaters, the Northern summers just don’t appeal to me. Something isn’t quite right. There’s nothing technically wrong with Northern summers, but like others, I tend to be drawn to what I’m familiar with and the things I already know best. Even if what we know is poison ivy, nuclear hot car seats and squeaky ceiling fans — it’s familiar, and therefore, it’s what we love.

 

We know how to get a smooth tan at the Gulf while snickering at the white-legged tourists who call the water the “ocean” and we know how to slice watermelons into perfect wedges on newspapers spread on the picnic table in the backyard.

Southern ladies know how to twist our hair up and pin it just the right way to keep it off our necks while leaving a few little strands to curl up in the heat, just to drive the men crazy. We know the secret of keeping our perfume in the refrigerator to give us a little extra chill down our spines before we go out for the evening.

 

Southern children know if they pick bouquets of Queen Anne’s Lace and wild honeysuckle, their mothers will give them a hug and a cookie, then grandly arrange the weeds only a mother could love in granny’s silver vase. The smart children also know to watch for snakes when picking berries and to avoid rolling around in the tall grass for fear of a million chiggers coming home with them on their backsides.

 

Southern men know how to make a party out of boarding up the house for a hurricane. They know to always carry extra water bottles on the boat, put fake rubber snakes in the fig trees and to wear seersucker for ultimate comfort in church.

 

We know to tilt the shutters “just so” in the mornings to let in the cheery light, but we also know exactly when to run around the house slamming them shut to keep the scorching afternoon rays from straining our air conditioners and bleaching out the rugs.

 

We know that a supper of homegrown corn, tomatoes, okra and zucchini is the best meal in the world when it’s served with a buttery wedge of cornbread, and that anyone who rushes through a meal like this without lingering around the table to scoop up the last bite of peach cobbler, isn’t to be trusted.

 

While my son’s friend Summer is cute as a bug in a rug, our real Southern summers are brutal.  For all the scratching, sunburnt, stormy, sweaty stings, we still love summer in the South. Familiarity is comforting, and these days, we need all the comfort we can get. Because that’s the summer we know and love.

Read and share the story HERE at AL.com — Mobile Press-Register, The Birmingham News, The Huntsville Times and The Mississippi Press. 

Leave a Reply

  1. nuclear hot car seat…you got that right.

    Two of the reasons I love summer are those slowed down days and vegetable plates.

  2. I love summer for all the same reasons. Happy to come inside to the A/C when it’s “nuclear hot” sitting on the outside furniture!

  3. Good Morning!
    After 50 yrs married to a Southern Gent, and finally setteling back in F’Hope, we are aware of most of your advice, and practice it!
    Do not miss those Winter’s back home , and embrace , the good the bad and the lovely of the South!

  4. The best sweet corn I’ve ever tasted came from the Loxley, AL area! I wonder if it’s still as good as I remember.

  5. I really enjoyed your descriptions of our Southern summers Leslie Anne, especially the thick air slowing everything down…not to mention I’m drooling over the visual image you gave me of a perfect summer supper!

    1. Quick! Go pick those tomatoes! I want you to do an all-Southern-garden recipe post on your blog! You’d make us all go crazy with your unique take on it!

  6. I was born in central Florida, went to school in Georgia and have lived the majority of my adult life in Houston. I am a self proclaimed expert on southern summers, heat and humidity. I did spend four years in a place that had four distinct seasons, including at least six weeks of below freezing temps and blizzards every year. Yes, it was quite a culture shock to this gal from the South. When anyone here complains about our weather, especially the humidity my reply is always “At least we don’t have to shovel the humidity!” Give me summer in the South over winter in the north any day. And thank the good Lord for central air conditioning and back yard swimming pools!

    1. The unpleasant aspects to our region keep the entire country from moving here, so there are benefits. I guess some people love the snow. I think I would like it for about a week.

      1. I loved it for about a day, especially if that day was Christmas! It’s pretty when it first falls but quickly gets dirty and messy. Besides that, it’s cold! And don’t even get me started on having little kids who have to be wrestled into snow suits only to announce their need to go potty five minutes later! I so appreciated my daughter’s kindergarten and first grade teachers who had 20 or so little ones to suit up for recess every day!

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