‘When all the leaves and trees are green…’

Welcome to summertime, which began Tuesday with the summer “solstice,” a Latin word for “if our AC goes out, call 911.”

So if Tuesday seemed like a really long day … it was. The longest. Because of the way the Earth and Sun were situated — with the Earth tilting on one of its poles and other complicated astronomical stuff that you already know so why should I explain — Tuesday was the longest day and shortest night of the year.

If you are married and came home and said, “Honey, it’s been a long day,” you might have been figuratively correct but you were most definitely literally correct. In other words, for once in your marriage, you were right, even if you didn’t mean to be.

Another reason why summer is good.

Song after song has been written and sung about summertime.

“Summertime, and the livin’ is easy…”

“In the good ol’ summertime…”

“The summer wind/came blowin’ in/from across the sea/It lingered there/to touch your hair/and walk with me…”

“We’ve been havin’ fun all summer long…” – Beach Boys, of course.

And — also of course — the late, great Roger Miller wrote this, a favorite because, well, Roger Miller … 

“In the summertime
When all the leaves and trees are green
And the redbird sings ‘I’ll be blue
’Cause you don’t want my love…”

Clever Roger Miller with the colors, green and red and blue. But it’s a sad summer song, and sad is not what summer is about.

It’s complicated now, when school starts and when school stops. Makes no sense.

But in a simpler time, the school system owned our adolescent butts from Labor Day until Memorial Day. Owned us. That was understood. Two days for Thanksgiving. Christmas was a couple weeks, the Glory Days of Wintertime Kiddom. There was an Easter Day or two. Maybe a Presidents Day.

But basically, they had you where they wanted you. In front of a chalkboard. Labor Day until Memorial Day.

Fine.

But we knew that glorious summertime was ours. Memorial Day passed, and we were free to run barefoot for three months. No questions asked.

We worked, sure. Depending on where you grew up, there was grass to cut, tractors to drive.

But there was also baseball to play. Afternoons at the pool. Bikes to ride from daylight to dusk.

Watermelon and sweat and smiles. And you could go to bed Sunday night without thinking of homeroom Monday. Monday was just another “free” day to be a kid, to drink from the water hose (wait a minute ’til it gets cold!), to get sunburned, to hear your momma calling you in for supper.

It’s hot, for sure. Supposed to be more than 100 this weekend. But I can take off enough to stay cool; can’t put on enough in the wintertime to stay warm.

I’ll take summer any day.

It’s been 25 years since I was out walking and met a guy from Up North washing his car. He’d just moved here. He mentioned in passing how hot it was. I nodded and told him it sure was and kept walking.

It was only April. I didn’t have the heart to tell him…

Contact Teddy at teddy@latech.edu

 


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