Sum­mer’s mem­o­ries top the list of the best

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - STYLE - SHARON RANDALL

What does sum­mer mean to you? It prob­a­bly de­pends on where you live or grew up, or how you choose to spend it.

If I asked you to de­scribe this sum­mer day, wher­ever you are, what would you say?

Maybe you’d start with the weather. Is it hot? Steamy? Stormy? Foggy? Is it a good day to be in the great out­doors or do you need to take shel­ter in­side?

What are you do­ing? Sorry, I don’t mean to be nosy. But it’s such a big part of my char­ac­ter I can’t seem to avoid it.

Are you sit­ting in an of­fice? Star­ing at a com­puter? Count­ing the hours un­til quit­tin’ time?

Never mind. Just tell me this: What would you do on this one-of-a-kind sum­mer day if you could do any­thing you please?

Body surf at the beach? Pick toma­toes off the vine? Take a pic­nic to a lake with your fa­vorite per­son? Sit in the stands be­hind home plate and pull for your fa­vorite team? Lie in a ham­mock with a fruity drink and read my col­umn?

Day­dream­ing of­fers end­less pos­si­bil­i­ties. And it’s free. But it’s only a shadow of re­al­ity.

An­other ques­tion: What’s your hap­pi­est sum­mer mem­ory? Think hard. Maybe it was the sum­mer you learned to swim. Or met the love of your life. Or took that un­for­get­table trip to some strange, ex­otic place like Mada­gas­car. Or Wal-Mart.

Years from now, what will you re­call about this sum­mer day?

My hus­band and I live in the desert on a hill above Las Ve­gas.

To­day, when I went out to get the mail, the ther­mome­ter on our pa­tio — in to­tal shade — reg­is­tered 111 de­grees.

I know what you’re think­ing. Yes, it’s a dry heat. But even a dry heat can be hot­ter than the hinges on the gates of hell.

More­over, the wind was gust­ing like a gi­ant, cos­mic blowdryer, blast­ing my face and sift­ing dust on my head like sugar on a cake.

It wasn’t my hap­pi­est sum­mer mem­ory. Here are some of my fa­vorites. I re­mem­ber:

■ As a child, wad­ing bare­foot and chas­ing min­nows that darted like ar­rows in a creek on my grand­par­ents’ farm.

■ As a teenager, spend­ing a week at Myr­tle Beach, S.C., get­ting sun­burned with my best friends.

■ As a col­lege dropout, vis­it­ing Cal­i­for­nia, call­ing my mother col­lect to say I’d be stay­ing a bit longer — about 35 years.

■ Giv­ing birth to my third child and dis­cov­er­ing, to my de­light, that I could hold in my arms and in my heart more than two squirm­ing bodies at once.

■ Camp­ing ev­ery Au­gust in Yosemite, let­ting my kids run wild and watch­ing Half Dome turn gold in the evening sun.

■ Go­ing to Giants’ games and miss­ing home runs by Bobby and Barry Bonds (20 years apart) be­cause I was stand­ing in line to buy a hot dog.

■ Spend­ing a month alone, af­ter my hus­band died, at a cabin on a lake in North Carolina, a place so se­cluded my sis­ter swore I was in wit­ness pro­tec­tion.

■ Driv­ing solo across coun­try, eat­ing at truck stops, talk­ing to strangers, watch­ing sun­sets in the rearview mir­ror.

■ Leav­ing a life I loved in Cal­i­for­nia to start a new life with a new hus­band in Las Ve­gas of all places.

■ Hold­ing my first grand­child and find­ing in his eyes a brand new rea­son for liv­ing.

■ Cel­e­brat­ing a Fourth of July wed­ding for my hus­band’s son and daugh­ter-in-law, along with all of our big, blended fam­ily. ■ Float­ing with my hus­band in our pool at sun­set, neck deep like happy hip­pos, lis­ten­ing to coyotes and feel­ing blessed.

Those mem­o­ries and count­less oth­ers all took place in sum­mer. But if I had to name my fa­vorite sum­mer mem­ory? I’d pick the next one, what­ever it may be.

The best of ev­ery­thing, even mem­o­ries, is al­ways yet to be.

I don’t keep a bucket list of things I’ve never done. I just hope to do more of the same old won­der­ful things called life.

Here’s wish­ing you and yours, and me and mine, our best sum­mer mem­o­ries — so far.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.