Savoring sweet summer days

Published 7:45 am Saturday, July 16, 2022

Ahh . . . sweet summer time!  I can tell that I’m definitely old.  I complain constantly about the weather—too hot, too cold, too wet, too dry!  And yet I anticipate each season with such excitement.  Remember when it was so cold this past winter?  We even had snow!  Not a lot, but some snow.  I couldn’t wait until spring!  Then came the pollen, the fluctuation in temperatures, often reverting back to winter.  Then finally, some beautiful blooms and getting outdoors in lovely temperatures.  But summer took over suddenly and was fierce almost all at once.  I’m talking HEAT!  I had hardly gotten my winter clothing pushed aside and it was already stinkin’ hot (as my friend the late Betsy Kent used to say).  

So, the complaining has been non-stop and I’m already anticipating the beautiful fall weather we’ll be enjoying in less than a blink with college students everywhere.  The leaves will turn brilliantly red, yellow, and orange and begin to fall signaling winter.  We’ll get caught up in the holiday season and once again the anticipation of spring will find me complaining about the chilling winter temperatures.    

Frankly, I’m thankful to live in an area where the signs of the seasons are obvious.  I remember living for a time in southern Florida.  It was just plain weird to be putting up Christmas decorations with the outdoor furnishings and grill still in place—and sweating all the while.  

Swimming was a big part of summer growing up.  We lived near a creek and several lakes so there was always a crowd of friends to hang out with, soak up some sun, and not have a care in the world.  My dad tried to teach me to swim many times, but his idea was to toss me into the water and hope my survival skills kicked in.  Or he would “play” by ducking me and trying to encourage me to be less timid.  That didn’t work at all.  While I learned the basics, I was never comfortable going under water.  I suffered with many earaches as a result when I did.  I finally learned that I could “doggy paddle” and enjoy being “on” the water instead of “under” the water.  It suited me.

One year as an adult, I attended a conference in Biloxi with several coworkers.  It was such a lovely setting, nice facilities with a view of the Gulf along with a couple of pools.  It was miserable to be stuck inside the meeting when my thoughts drifted to the joy of a refreshing splash in the pool.  Finally, the meetings were over, and my friends and I could not get to the pool fast enough.  And, of course, it was the destination of many of the conference attendees.  But as I approached the edge of the pool, I realized this was the “big” pool.   You know, the deep end all around!  I looked at my dear friend Brenda Brannan with dread and voiced my reluctance to jump into this deeper water.  Apparently, another poolside colleague from a rival school asked “What’s the matter?  Are Ole Miss folks afraid of the water?”  What?!  I immediately responded, “Not at all.  In fact, we can walk on water!”  And swiftly jumped in.  Luckily, I was able to “swim” elegantly to the side and save face.  

When our boys were little, I wanted to make sure they knew how to swim, and I wanted them to enjoy the experience.  Older son Dennis learned to swim at a young age and loves the water.  Same is true for Jeff who also loves the water and worked as a lifeguard for several summers and also taught swimming lessons.  

So, if the heat is getting you down, get yourself into a pool and splash around like you are still a teenager.  And remember that the doggy paddle is recognized as a swimming technique.  Go for it!  It won’t be long before the cold weather will be here, and we’ll be grumbling about that!  

 

Bonnie Brown writes a weekly column for the Oxford Eagle. Contact her at bbrown@olemiss.edu.