Summertime

Today I have had two brief conversations with friends regarding summertime. My buddy, Jeff, wanted to know how the ‘Old Guy’ was holding up in the humidity and heat. I responded that I preferred lukewarm…and he replied, ‘Like bathwater.’ Indeed I have never been a fan of summer but I have learned to appreciate it as it is a full fourth of our year. I remember no air conditioners in the house that I lived as well as no AC in the cars that I drove. It was so hot and humid even at night…that sleep alluded me…and I was a kid who could sleep 10 hours without realizing that the time had passed…until I awakened. My step-father, Earl, told me to crack my window just a few inches and he would place a box fan in the kitchen window and put the settings on exhaust to facilitate cool air coming in through the 5 inch opening of my bedroom window. As I placed my face directly in front of the crack…I awaited the cool air. None was forthcoming…and I finally fell into a fitful and unrestful sweaty half-sleep. A welcome respite was a rain storm that would drop the temperatures several degrees and that came with its own cool wind. But as most summer rains…it was temporary…and then returned the more humid and hotter heat of a night in Little Egypt.

A Belair 1957 Convertible is a pleasure to ride in at any stage of your life. Nothing was more fun than mom and I and my cousin, Brenda, and my friend, Jackie, loading up into our Chevrolet and letting the rag top down and enjoying our hair flying and the the feeling of total abandon and carefree as we made our way to Pounds Hollow Pond to swim. Pounds Hollow had the longest stone stairway from the parking lot to the picnic area and bathhouse. We would pay a few cents for a metal basket to place our clothes in and proceed to the changing room. The grassy beach was on a hill facing the cool and inviting water. Once in the water…I was transported to another world. No longer did I notice the oppressive heat of a Southern Illinois summer…it was replaced with the cool environs of the Hollow’s lovely lake water. Pounds Hollow was a timeless experience. I was never a strong swimmer…but I loved to float. If you have eve floated you know that your ears are in the water and you can not hear most of the sounds around you. The Pond had a safety rope for we swimmers to not cross…but when I was floating…I crossed all the way to the far bank of the body of water. It really was just me and the water…being one…

Nice, France is a lovely old city. During our month in Europe in 2014 we spent a week with our dear friends, Margo and Jeff. We did a lot of walking…and it was hot…Mediterranean sun… I became more tanned by the day. I decided that I required a hat. I had forgotten to pack one of mine for the journey. As a part of our many walkabouts we searched for hats. Finally we found a hat store where MJ and I both purchased a French bonnet. Mine was a bit of a bucket hat. It was white and possessed a little brim on the front and curled up in the back. MJ bought a hat with a large brim and a wonderful blue color. It looked very French…and she appeared to be a French girl wearing her new headgear. Our friends flat was very near the ocean and we walked up and down the promenade on a daily basis. The beach was comprised of stones…not for the barefooted. Jeff and I enjoyed many cigars along the popular walkway. I wanted he and I to experience a Cohiba Cigar from Cuba. Although there was an embargo on them in the United States…they were freely sold in France. And, so, I purchased 4 for us and we lit up. Jeff looked at me with a look of pain and illness as he puffed away. I subsequently took a long drag on the famous and prized cigar that had been expensive…but nothing to good for my lifelong friend…and it tasted terrible… After a while Jeff asked if I minded if he did not finish his…and I agree that something was amiss with the tobacco.

Rome in 2011 was hot. We had all been a part of my and MJ’s retirement cruise. Our plane had landed at Leonardo Da Vinci airport and Bob’s Limo Service took us to our Hotel Monte Carlo. I had worn my flat Irish Woolen Cap that I purchased in St. Charles, Missouri a few years prior. It was hot and my head was subsequently hot…and a bird pooped on my hat on the first day of our Rome walking tour after we had returned to the city following our Mediterranean Cruise. The Cruise had afforded us a lovely lunch with Margo at Nice as a part of a land excursion. She and MJ and Jonathon enjoyed some Gelato at a nearby stand before we had to return to our ship. We travelled from Rome to Assisi, which is the home of St. Francis, and it was scorching hot. There was a lovely couple on the bus with us. The gentleman was from Brooklyn, New York and the lady from Israel and a former member of the Mossad. They bought us wine at our luncheon and I had to scurry to buy the lovely lady a pastry at Assisi. Our tour guide was tired. He spoke to us in three languages on the many hours of bus riding…but when we got off the bus to climb an extremely long hill to tour an old church…he told us that…’There is the church…I will be under the tree….’ A woman from South Africa berated our guide…non-stop to Assisi and back to Rome. She told him that she had overseen the tours for all of South Africa…and that he was doing it wrong… Our deflated guide simply replied, ‘Madam…Madam…Madam.’ In Tunis, Tunisia I had tipped our wonderful tour guide a 10 Euro note. MJ instructed me that we were not made of money and that I would have to leave no more than half of my over generous tip from now on. When we departed the bus…after our long journey and the added benefit of the constant haranguing of our tired and deflated and defeated tour guide….MJ gave him a 10 Euro note…she noted that she felt sorry for him…

2 responses

  1. All this heat, do you think there may be a clue in the name Little – Egypt.

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