Al Batt: Secret sauce includes the sweat of summer

Published 10:00 pm Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Tales from Exit 22, By Al Batt

Well, we wanted to see other seasons.

That doesn’t always go well. Summer doesn’t always agree with us.

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It was hotter than a dollar store frying pan. It’s our fault. We wished too hard for heat during the winter.

I knew it was hot when the backyard wading pool melted.

Someone said that Christmas should be in the summer when the weather is nicer, but who wants to see Santa in a speedo?

Summer is when parents realize that teachers are underpaid and we’re reminded to cover up certain parts of the body. The brilliant white lights are blinding. Shorts allow legs to shine brightly. We wish our teeth were that white. It’s when the snow is warmer than in winter. Our snow removal plan in Minnesota is called June.

What is your favorite part of summer? Mosquitoes, gnats, blackflies, high humidity (it was so humid, all french fries became curly fries), dumb dew point, storms (hail, wind, lightning) or all the warnings and watches? The weather can be so nice that it makes me wonder why so many insects want to get into my house. Then I remember, it’s to eat me! Mosquitoes do exploratory drilling, proving that it’s the little things that matter, especially when it comes to driving someone crazy. People who wouldn’t harm a fly are willing to torture a mosquito. Bug zappers might be entertaining, but they are indiscriminate killers that don’t make a dent in the mosquito population. One, two. Buckle my shoe. Three, four. Shut the door. Five, six. Check for ticks.

Or do you prefer the things that don’t try to kill you? Running through lawn sprinklers, no school, festivals, celebrations, fairs, and air conditioning. I’ve few fond memories of the first air conditioner I lived with. It went out more often than I did.

Maybe your favorite ingredients of summer are picnics, swimming, boating, fishing without having to cut a hole in ice, sweat and sunburn. Mowing the lawn and losing battles to dandelions and creeping Charlie. Anyone who mows a lawn knows a yard is more than 3 feet. I want to measure grass with a yardstick.

Gardening offers a buffet to insects, rabbits and groundhogs.  Tomatoes work the opposite way that traffic lights do. Green is no, yellow is wait, red is go. Gardening is 10 percent planting seeds and 90 percent pulling weeds. Picking raspberries becomes the Game of Thorns. People who think they can run the world should try managing a small garden first.

Our roads become close captioned. Signs indicating roadwork are everywhere. Road construction offers an opportunity to walk in hot oil used to patch roads and pavement. Potholes are Minnesota speed bumps.

The athletic partake of golf, softball, baseball, pickleball, bicycling, running and hamstring pulls.

Singing crickets, flowers and birdsongs. Hummingbirds made of air buzz by. Cardinal karate is practiced on a bird’s image in window glass. A 4.6-inch long house wren has a 46-foot personality. That wren teaches me a lot, but I have no idea what it is.

I enjoy getting a chance to say, “Hot enough for you?“ It’s a phrase I’m trying to use more in the winter.

A neighbor told me that he had summer cows. “Some are black and some are brown,” he’d say with a cackle.

My father welcomed the summer warbler. It was his nickname for the yellow warbler, a tiny bird with more yellow than bird. A friend claims the bird sings, “Feet, feet, feet; smell my feet.”

Summer sausage is an American term for any sausage that can be kept without refrigeration until opened. Even during the summer.

I love memories of the sound of a screen door swinging shut with a whack and of bouncing a lively rubber ball off the front steps of the house, which produced a variety of hits as if they were struck by a bat. The worst thing that could happen to me wasn’t dropping one of those balls. It was catching a dreaded summer cold or getting the flu. For some reason, we catch a cold and get the flu.

I appreciate not having to wear a jacket. I take one with me anyway because I was brought up that way. Besides, many a summer day has cleared up cloudy with a dry drizzle.

Summer, as every season will, comes when it wants and leaves when it chooses.

No matter what the season, the weather is out to get us and printer ink will still be too expensive.

Al Batt’s columns appear every Wednesday and Saturday.