Summertime, and the living is easy…hot, and open
Holidays and summer go together like peanut butter and jelly, like spaghetti and meatballs, like chocolate and everything, so having another holiday so soon after Memorial Day and Juneteenth is not lost on most of us.
Juneteenth was pretty much a regional celebration before it received federal recognition, but like the Martin Luther King birthday observance, both offer an opportunity to learn more about how we’ve come to this place. With that said, it’s summer and that spells fun, family, and more fun now that some COVID restrictions have been lifted.
Growing up, July 4th meant summer had finally arrived and peaches, watermelons and cantaloupes would automatically be sweet. There were picnics, barbecues, fresh sweet corn, and community gatherings. Nowadays we get fruit from around the world all year, so we don’t have to wait to taste summer but July’s perfect to find a cool spot and enjoy picnics and ice cream. You guessed it, it’s National Picnic and National Ice Cream Month.
I eat ice cream all year but to have a whole month and an excuse to indulge—what could be better except maybe your own Baskin and Robbins or Ben & Jerry’s? When it comes to flavors—vanilla, chocolate, black walnut, sherbet, and sorbet are my favorites, but I get bodacious when they let me try the ones I’m curious about.
With ice cream you either eat it and throw caution to the wind or you pass it up and have a fat-free cupcake that tastes like it’s about six months old and labeled “no preservatives.” As a child we always had homemade ice cream but I think we lost our freezer in the last move but thinking about it has inspired me to open a few more boxes and find it.
Picnics, minus the unwelcome visitors like ants and creepy things, are hard to explain. It’s the same chicken, potato salad, dessert, and soda you’d eat at home but something magical happens when you pack it in a basket and take it to the park.
In virtually every romantic or family reunion movie there is a picnic scene, and these informal gatherings provide a great way to reconnect. If you’re planning one, make sure you practice good food safety habits—keep cold stuff cold and hot stuff hot—and enjoy freedom in a whole new way this year.
July is also National Cellphone Courtesy Month, and no, this isn’t an oxymoron. There are real rules for courteous usage but what I’m sharing here might just be my peeves and preferences:
Use your inside voice—We don’t need to/nor do we want to carry on community conversations. If everybody in the store knows about your lousy date and why your family called the ambulance last night, you’re too loud.
Just because the phone rings, doesn’t mean you have to answer and talk loudly as you leave the room. Yes, you have call waiting but don’t leave me waiting. Call back instead.
Whenever you enter a quiet place—church, library, funeral home, etc., stop and turn your ringer off so you get a vibration instead of Bo Diddley loudly singing “I’m a Man, M-A-N.”
Finally, courtesy is a beautiful thing, especially in the cellphone universe. When leaving a message, state your name, briefly state the purpose of your call, (not the same as a 10-minute summary) say your number slowly and clearly, then repeat your name and number again.
Excuse me, my phone’s ringing and I need to take this call. From the looks of it, there’s a picnic and an ice cream cone calling. Enjoy the holiday…
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