O Lord, it’s that time of year in Indiana when summer and Indian summer engage in a polite tug of war. Windows open or shut? Air conditioning or heat? Ceiling fan or extra blankets? Though when it comes to falling temperatures, OMG, the seasons might prove more polite than we are.
On sultry summer days, do you sit on the porch — more likely, bask in air-conditioning — and ponder profound issues?
Skeptics might claim we’re procrastinating. We don’t want to mow or weed the garden for the 500th time. Or battle Japanese beetles that may as well own deeds to our rose beds.
No, I truly look for answers to my questions, including:
Unlike highway medians, why can’t our yards and gardens be declared prairie preservation areas?
Why would anyone invent platform flip-flops? A friend asks this question daily, as falling off her fashionable footwear put her in a walking boot.
My question: why would anyone buy them?
When temperatures sizzle, are you tempted to splat and zoom on a Slip ’N Slide®? (Me, neither.)
Do others feel embarrassed — and relieved — that their campers include air conditioners?
Why do summer mornings smell better every year?
Why do beach lovers strip down to strings — some wore pandemic masks bigger than their bathing suits — yet other bathers don more clothing than in January?
Why would anybody believe romaine should be grilled?
What summer food sometimes outranks (gasp!) ice cream? Though a lifetime addict, I believe on the hottest days, a chilled watermelon slice tastes even better. Besides, I can spit seeds at my spouse.
Why does my three-year-old grandson’s face, smeared with blueberries, appear adorable when my own toddlers’ gooey, blue kisses sent me running for my life — and a washcloth?
Tarry blacktop conjures teeth-gritting images of road construction. Endless balky traffic. Detours to Timbuktu. But does its fragrance generate positive memories for anyone else? Sweaty bike rides on country roads to a mom-and-pop store to buy icy, 10-cent bottles of cream soda? Or yakety cycling with teen friends to a bookmobile?
People are named June and August, but who’s named July?
Why do some summer outdoor wedding guests look ready for a Hollywood photo shoot, whereas other perspiring attendees — not me, you understand — look like they spent the afternoon in a dunk tank?
Which is best: lightning bugs, glowworms, or fireflies?
Why does the ice maker malfunction only when temperatures rise above 90?
Ditto for air conditioners. And freezers.
Which songs are hummed most during summer: Beach Boys’ hits? The ’50s classic, “A Summer Place”? Or “Summer Nights” from the musical, Grease?
While riding in the back of a pickup at 65 mph doesn’t carry its former appeal, do we children of yesteryear miss those wild, warm, nighttime breezes, the lavish, starry show above?
Thankfully, we don’t miss out on summer evening scents. Don’t they smell better every year?
Especially when neighbors mow grass. And nurture beautiful flowers.
All while I ponder these profound questions of summer.
Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What weighty quandaries fill your mind during summer?
“Would you write a note that says I can’t go teach today?”
My husband, a retired family physician, often heard similar requests about missing work. Today, though, he’s the speaker. Glaring at hail pelting our backyard, he dreads Indiana weather’s hormonal tantrums.
I don’t blame him. While I enjoy gentle raindrop melodies, I dislike hail’s percussion. Poor spring flowers probably don’t appreciate that music, either.
I settle deeper into my cozy robe and sofa seat, tapping on my laptop. One gloating glance from me, and Hubby might park beside me for a month. Maybe two.
Past Aprils have dumped snow on us. Today, thunder, lightning and hail prevail. Will tomorrow bring a biblical plague of frogs?
But spring peepers in nearby wetlands, the amphibian Mormon Tabernacle Choir, remain strangely silent. Perhaps they’re in a mucky mood too.
A born-and-raised Hoosier, I should accept this climatic insanity as normal.
Golfers like our neighbor consider it an unfortunate par for the course. They crave the 70-degree April in which my son was born, with lilacs and crab apple blossoms dizzying us with fragrance.
Or even the spring in which our daughter was born, when April blizzards morphed directly into 90-degree temperatures.
Even without that extreme temperature change, panicked weather personnel have trumpeted tornado doom for our state.
I appreciate their concern. Yet, how do we prepare for such climatic craziness?
Plus, Floridians don’t face the wardrobe problems we brave. Hoosiers cannot retire cold-weather clothing, yet must jam closets with spring-friendly outfits. Do we choose a parka or spring raincoat? Woolies or sleeveless? Wearing layers works, but how many? And not even the most flexible Midwesterner pairs flip-flops with electric socks.
Spring weather also scrambles food choices. If we bravely plan a barbecue, we may squint through a whiteout to see if the chicken’s done. Mother Nature, off her meds, may blow our grill to Cleveland.
Surely, she’ll get over her snit soon. Sunshiny weather will last through a five-minute walk. My miserable diet, kept with swimsuit weather in mind, will prove worth it. Hubby, who persists in making desperate camping reservations, will set up our pop-up without joining our grill in Cleveland.
For now, though, he must face Indiana weather as it is.
“Take an umbrella,” I say.
Hubby rolls his eyes. “It’s in my backpack.”
“Do you have a snow shovel in the car? Boots? Food and water? This might turn into a blizzard.”
“Check. Glad we had the air conditioning fixed last fall. Could be 90 by evening.”
He dons his suit of armor.
I open his helmet visor and kiss him goodbye. Now he’s prepared for anything — even an Indiana spring.
Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What’s spring weather like in your state?