Growing up in Florida, I never really understood what the season of "summer" was. The seasons were hot, hot, hotter and hottest. We were out of school for a few weeks but it sure was hot down that dirt road. We didn't bother to get to the beach much because we could lay out in our back yard (on the black trampoline for that matter!). Who cares about ice cream? We ate it year round. Tank tops and flip-flops? Psssshh! Year round! Summer wasn't about 'dogs on the grill, baseball games, and deck parties. It was about staying indoors, avoiding the insane rays and catching up on all those lazy Saturdays you missed out on during the "fall" and "spring."
Living in New England, I realized what summer is all about. It's about waiting for the last weekend in May - Memorial Day weekend. This sacred last weekend in May is, of course, about honoring our fallen soldiers first and foremost but it's also the unofficial start to Summer.
Cue Jerry Mungo "In the Summertime" song! dee dee dee dee dee dah dah dah dah dah...
Summer in New England is running after the ice-cream truck (the one that comes right at dinner time); wearing the least amount of clothing possible and not getting arrested for indecent exposure; soaking in as much of the sun as humanly possible; picking and eating blueberries as big as quarters; enjoying every minute of the bright green grass; grilling out every day; the sound of the A/C unit sitting in your wall; never complaining about the heat because you know the bitter weather that follows; swimming in any body of water that soothes the soul; eating dinner outside; enjoying an entirely fried platter at a clam shack; kids selling actual lemonade; sand between your toes; the smell of the grass in the morning; standing outside with your neighbors because it's not 16 degrees; big, patriotic American Flags on traditional New England houses; and absolutely savoring the season.Yes! That's a QUARTER, not a nickle.
Before we lived in Rhode Island, I never understood what the big deal about summer was. In California, it was fun to have the "Indian Summer" and in Japan it felt like being in the South: sticky and miserable. Nothing is as sweet as welcoming in the giggly feeling of Frosty Freeze, Clam Bakes, welcoming people to your summer town and seeing your kids' ice cream faces.