“I don’t need no stinkin’ grill!” he stated emphatically, with an impish grin. He then proceeded to dig a hole in the backyard, fill it with charcoal and other combustible stuff and top it with a purloined, foil wrapped rack from the oven. This was his ritual for the first barbecue of the summer. It was something his dad did when he was growing up and that, along with buying the first watermelon of the season, signaled the beginning of summer for him. Of course after that, the “stinkin’ grill” was pulled out and used with frequency until Labor Day.
Memorial Day is the official beginning of summer and the parks and pools fill with people who have waited for this starter gun. Yet there are many folk who don’t feel that summer has arrived until they until they have, do or experience something. As a child , I knew it was summer when I heard the ice cream truck coming down the street. Part of the fun was scrambling for change and then racing after the truck, yelling “Wait! Wait!” as it started to pull away. Nothing tastes so good as a creamsicle (orange sherbert and vanilla ice cream) that you’ve had to work for.
As an adult, I’m not so easily pleased (if lack of dignity and good knees would allow me to race after an ice cream truck). However summer has arrived for me when I am not awakened by the rumbling of school buses. I also have one very sheer, “floozy” skirt that I wear only when it’s very hot. I’ve had it for years and fortunately it has an elastic waistband.
If you need some help slipping into the season, listen to any rendition of Gershwin’s Summertime and check out these books to get you in the spirit:
Al Roker’s Big Bad Book of Barbecue – 100 recipes for backyard cooking
The Ultimate Ice Cream Book – wonderful recipes for ice creams, sorbets and more
10 Best of Everything National Parks – top selections of parks
Perhaps, however, there’s something else that helps signal summer for you. If it’s not digging a hole in the backyard, we’d like to hear what it is.