It has long been my view that summer is an odd time of year.
It is not uncommon for someone to ask how my summer is going or if I am having a good summer. I don’t recall anyone ever asking the same about winter, spring or fall.
I suppose it all goes back to the school calendar. Even though most of us work right through the
summer, at some point we all either went to school and/or had children who went to school. Even with those days behind us, there is something within us that makes us think of this time of year as a break in routine and a time to relax and unwind a bit.
So given that, I guess it’s not that unusual for someone to ask how my summer is going.
I have made no secret of the fact that it is my least favorite of seasons, the main reason being
the heat. I tend to whine about it, especially when I am a guest at some type of extended outdoor event (like a wedding) that does not include access to air conditioning.
For the life of me, I will never understand why anyone in the South would ever plan an outdoor
wedding in the summer, but to each his/her own. I might have to miss it, though.
I guess I might have made this known about myself over the years. At the home of some friends for dinner recently, the hostess told me they had considered having us eat outside on their beautiful patio but she figured it would be too hot for me.
While I was embarrassed and assured her I would be fine, I was thankful the table was already set –inside.
This summer has not been terrible yet. I think we have hit 95 degrees a day or two, but thus far the highs have been in the upper 80s and low 90s – hot enough, for sure, but it could be worse. I expect,
as we head into August, things will heat up more.
I have been a Southerner my entire life, having lived in Arkansas and Tennessee, two places I love dearly. Even so, I have never become accustomed to – nor developed a fondness for – being hot.
For a number of years now, my policy has been not to take a summer vacation in the South if at all possible. Like so many others, we used to head to the Florida Gulf Coast during summers when our
children were still at home. I have great memories of those trips but I also have memories of being
miserably hot to the point of sand burning my feet.
After all our children left home, I advised my wife I would no longer be taking those types of trips between June 1st and October 1st . If I go to the Gulf Coast, it will be during the off season.
I will, however, head to cooler places, such as the mountains of Colorado, which is where we
spent last week with our family.
It is truly one of my happy places, having long ago spent two summers working in Rocky Mountain National Park — after my senior year of college and first year of law school.
For this trip we rented a house in Breckenridge, a ski town 80 miles west of Denver. I can’t
adequately express what getting up and going for an early morning walk in July, while wearing a
sweater, does for my soul.
Daytime temperatures reached the high 70s and locals were talking about how warm it was, as I
laughed. There is hardly any humidity. It’s where I belong this time of year.
The scenery, of course, is breathtaking. A day on nearby Lake Dillon fishing with my sons and son-in-law would have been enjoyable, with beautiful mountain vistas surrounding us, even had we not caught a fish. The abundance of fish we caught, however (and enjoyed for lunch the next day), made the time even sweeter.
Before we left on this trip, my wife, ever the planner, asked what I thought we should plan to do. I told her I could make minimal plans and be perfectly happy. Walks, hikes and porch sitting with a
book would suit me just fine and I would not need to do much advance preparation.
Of course she knows when seven adults and two babies are cohabitating for a week, some organization is needed. She made assignments for cooking and made sure we were all aware of our options for activities during the week.
But really, it was about as laid back as you get back. The young folks rode up a ski lift and took an alpine slide down. The ladies enjoyed a few hours at a spa one morning and, as I said, the guys spent
a day fishing.
I’m not a golfer, but the other guys enjoyed some time on a nearby course. I did plenty of the
aforementioned sitting on the porch and reading too. There was a fun parade on the morning of July 4th .
We mostly ate in, but also enjoyed some local cuisine and craft beer.
To humor me, they all agreed to make the two-hour drive to the area where I used to work and
tried their best not to act bored as I recounted those days.
Best of all, for one week, I was not hot, and could refrain from whining. That’s a great summer
trip in my book.
Bob McKinney is a longtime Brentwood resident, happy husband and proud father, father-in-
law and grandfather. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.