Bonfires, smoke sweetly rising into the starry sky.
Toes in the water, sitting on the edge of a dock.
A chimichanga (or three, or four) eaten on the deck of the Taco House.
The smell of newly-mown grass.
Ice-cold watermelon, juice dripping down my chin.
Scald-your-fingers-hot sweet corn, glistening with butter.
Grabbing a seat on the courthouse steps while a guitarist sings of far-away places and melancholy dreams on a Mainstreet Market summer eve.
A few of my favorite summer things?
You bet, and the list goes on.
Following a hectic May of family celebrations, turning the calendar to June offers a respite from the hectic pace, and a chance to review my summer bucket list.
The anticipation of summer's pleasure is half the fun. Making a must-do list reminds me of all the times I've enjoyed these unique joys of a mid-American summer. While city folks dream of escaping the sweltering sidewalks and noise for a month at the shore, or the woods, or the Heartland, we seem to have found a little corner of summer contentment.
That's not to say we don't like to visit other areas during our summer season. I've always thought a weekend in the big city, strolling its sidewalks, eating its cuisine, taking in the theatre and arts, would be a fine summer idea. The North Woods, cool and deep, even in mid-July, draws so many of us to its cool lakes and pristine wilderness. And family, far-flung and missed, lures us away from northwest Iowa.
While these sojourns are wonderful, I've always noticed my heart says "It's time to head home," when I'm gone too long. A perfect trip finds that internal reminder comes at the exact moment the bags are packed and the vehicle gassed up for the return journey. "Enough, but not too much," of the pleasures of a far-away visit, makes for an idyllic vacation.
The chance to enjoy extra fun here at home is right around the corner. Flagfest, Spencer's own summer salute, comes around next weekend. So many folks work all year around to ensure its success. New and different offerings tempt us every year. This year, I think the movie night under the stars sounds like a fine idea. And the old favorites, like the parade, prove that you don't mess with success.
It's a wonderful reminder of all that makes summer something special right here at home.