Well, it's officially summer. The whole "summer begins on June 21" thing is kind of a joke here in the South where temperatures have been in the mid- to upper nineties for more than a week. It's really hot, the kind of hot that makes people's tempers flare and pets want to flop on tile floors to cool off and flowers to be really stingy with their blooms and the ones that they do put out end up burnt anyway. There are exceptions, of course. There are beautiful hot weather bloomers - the crepe myrtle trees, butterfly bushes and butterfly weed, lantana, salvias (although my black and blue salvia is not blooming well right now), portulaca (aka moss roses), black-eyed Susans, and morning glory vines (but those will take over if you're not careful).

Summer just doesn't have the appeal to me as a grownup that it did when I was growing up and was not as bothered by heat (swelling, prickly rash, fatigue, and vague stomach uneasiness) and dust (it wasn't my job to do the gardening). When I was growing up, summer was about going to the pool most days, playing a little golf or tennis in the morning and swimming all afternoon. Even on the rainy days, we'd sit in the clubhouse wrapped in our towels and play cards and listen to the radio and eat candy bars we charged to our parents' account. And in the evenings, we'd see a movie at the drive-in theater, or make ice cream in a churn or eating watermelon outside at someone's house. We'd all stay outdoors until well after dark, looking at the stars above and the fireflies in the yard. I remember looking for the Sputnik satellite moving quickly across the sky - I remember my brother explaining that Sputnik was the light that moved and the lights that didn't move were "just stars." We had a whole-house fan before we had air-conditioning and we'd crack a window open about 3 inches and stand in front it to feel the force of the air that was sucked in by the attic fan. I'd move my bed so that the air would blow across it as I slept. I do remember the occasional night when I got so hot I slept on the floor (we didn't have a sleeping porch - 50's ranch houses were not so equipped, unfortunately) but still, it was summer, and summer meant being mostly carefree and liberated from schedules and homework.

I was not sorry when school started again (because I would be with people every day and I liked school anyway) but I did enjoy summer. On this day every year (especially because school usually didn't get out until sometime in June anyway), the whole summer still stretched out before me and the fall seemed so far away. Summer sometimes even got a little boring - even going to the pool every day with the same group of people (I lived in a very small town) could get old - but we knew it was supposed to be fun and we had fun for the most part.

I like to think that God likes fun and that we are supposed to have regular fun just like regular prayer and regular sleep and regular meals and regular exercise. But there are times when it just seems like a monumental effort to do all or even any those things regularly. I'm terrible at "maintenance." Even "maintenance fun." And so like many grown-ups, I may just have to start scheduling some fun for my summer.