How is it that the choicest moments in life – the best of the best – are always and inevitably accompanied by the wail, “It’s going so fast!”? Kids shooting up, growing out of dance tutus and baseball cleats. Lilacs blooming sweet and purple, gone in a flash. Waxing moon turns fat and golden, starts to wane and another month is gone.
July near over already! Frogs in full song and lightning bugs hovering over foxtail tips. Lake water beginning finally to warm, sand hot beneath bare feet. Summer hurrying, hurrying, moving past us almost before we know it is here.
Impossible to keep it, but there are, I think, ways to slow the forward motion. Rum works. No, don’t laugh, I am completely serious. Malibu and Coke, a wedge of lime, plenty of ice – sip slowly. Ah, the drink of pirates, I can practically see Jack Sparrow dancing on the white sand. Don’t drink this inside, though – get out beneath the stars - lakeside, back porch, next to a bonfire. Perfect, you’ve got summer in an eight ounce glass.
Or this – sprawl on the porch swing with a good book and and read read read while the lovely lemony sun rays bathe you from head to toe. Read exactly whatever you want to read, gooey romances or outlandish Victorian vampires or Russian spy novels. Plenty of time for literary snobbishness this winter. Summer is a time to indulge.
What about an ice cream cone every time the Tastee Freeze changes their special? If you skip lunch you don’t have to worry about your swimsuit. (Which you should be living in – it is summer, after all, why aren’t you swimming?)
Crank the windows on your way home from work and drive barefooted with your sunglasses perched on your nose. Black Crowes playing on the radio at a teeth-rattling volume.
Hit the beer gardens, the county fairs, the farmer’s markets. Take your fishing pole to the canal in the evening, when the sun is just pinking over the water.
Most of all, take it all in – the lady bugs, the freshly-mown hay, scent of coconut lotion and cucumbers, taste of watermelon and sweet tea. Gorgeous, glorious, perfect time of year – we won’t gripe about the heat until at least August.
Start with butter. Real butter if we’ve got it – otherwise, Country Crock works, twelve tablespoons for a monster batch. Each child gets to scoop the butter, so pull up chairs to stand on.
Sugar and brown sugar and . . .oh wow, no eggs.
Add a trip to the grocery. All of us in the station wagon - muffler is shot, and the front window stuck open; backseat smells like sour milk. And we love, love this old car. It’s like family.
Get your shoes on or you can’t go in!
Small town grocery. We can pay with piggy bank change, or even charge if we have to. Add four orange sodas to the bill. And a catnip mouse for the kitty, why not?
Home again, and the cat has his face in the mixing bowl, whiskers sticky. Add laughter here, lots of it. No sense getting mad on cookie day.
Okay, start over. Butter, sugars and everyone here crack an egg, we can put in enough flour to make it right.
Wait, we need music!
Add Jimmy Buffet, it’s summertime.
Vanilla – no don’t drink it! Just drop some in. Yep, that was plenty, don’t worry, it tastes good.
Looking for my last shaker of salt. Dancing? Oldest child with the youngest on her hip. Middle child balances GI Joe on the edge of the bowl and then lets him flop in.
Add salt, baking soda. Rescue Joe and douse him under the faucet.
Nestles chips, the best part! Stir the dough and pretend not to notice the little fingers pinching at it, chocolate at the corners of Cheshire grins; we’ll all have belly aches and we don’t care.
Plop the dough on the cookie sheet by the spoonful and fill the whole house with wondrous scent of baking chocolate.
Sweet tooths and healthy appetites, and friends stopping by for a sleep-over.
Cookies gone by tomorrow, memories ours for a lifetime.
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