On being … Bastille Day already!

By Ingrid Sapona

No, I don’t generally celebrate Bastille Day (though I’m open to it, as it seems a good excuse to indulge in a chocolate croissant or two, but I digress…). What’s really on my mind is the need to focus on things that remind me of summer – before it’s gone.

When we’re school-age, it’s impossible not to notice it’s summer because, if nothing else, it means a break in the daily routine. But as an adult, I’ve found that summer has a way of sneaking up on me. And, if the weather isn’t what you expect summer to bring (here that would be hot and humid), then it’s easy to feel that summer hasn’t yet arrived when, in fact, it’s mid-July already!

So, in hopes that I’ll catch that summer vibe (regardless of the weather), the past few days I’ve been thinking about all the things that represent summer to me. There are two main categories “summer things” fall into. The first category is what I think of as summer triggers – things that automatically make me think of summer, no matter when or where they come up.

The best example of a summer trigger for me is the smell of Coppertone. (Well, Coppertone Tanning Lotion, as it used to be called. I think some Coppertone Sunscreens smell like the Coppertone of my youth but, sadly, not all do any more.) Another instant “summer” trigger for me is the word boondoggle. You see, when I was in a kid, my elementary school put up a craft hut next to the playground every summer. One of my favourite crafts was weaving with boondoggle cord. You know, it wasn’t until I was in my late 20s that I even heard of that other, rather negative, definition of boondoggle! I’m not embarrassed to admit that I whiled away hundreds of contented hours in my youth “boondoggling”. (It’s been over 40 years since I’ve even seen boondoggle cord. I sure hope it’s not gone the way of vinyl records.)

The second category is things that, though enjoyable any time of year, summer wouldn’t be same without. (Mind you, road construction – though a staple of summer – isn’t in this category. Remember, I’m talking about enjoyable things.) Ice cream is the most obvious thing in this category. Whether it’s soft serve or regular ice cream, on a hot summer day, there’s nothing better. Laying back on a blanket and watching fireworks blossoming above and feeling the boom echo through your rib cage is another special summer sensation.

Then there are the songs of summer. The Beach Boys’ “Good Vibrations” undeniably represents summer for most folks of my generation. But it’s certainly not the only song that conjures summer for me. Don’t ask me why but Van Morrison’s “Brown Eyed Girl” is another one that sings out “summer” to me. In fact, I love the idea of a song of summer so much that the past dozen or so years I’ve enjoyed picking out a toe tapper that I dub my song of summer. This year I can’t decide between Andy Grammer’s “Honey I’m Good” and Walk the Moon’s “Shut Up and Dance”. (No matter what you think of these songs – or how sick and tired of them you might be – I’ll bet you can’t stop yourself from bopping when you hear either of them.)

Wow, I have to say, writing about all these special “summer things” has put a smile on my face and has made me want to revel in the season (regardless of the weather). I’m sure you have a list of your own things that mean summer to you. I hope this has helped you focus on them for at least a few minutes. And, if you’re like me and you haven’t really started enjoying summer just yet, all I can say is Bastille Day has come and gone! You better make the most of these long days now – it’s gonna be Labour Day before you know it.

© 2015 Ingrid Sapona


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