Can’t stand the heat? Stay out of summer

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Summer is a favorite of so many for one obvious reason: it is the one season when total disintegration of social mores is completely acceptable.
In summer you don’t have to wear shoes, eat your vegetables, or balance your checkbook (or maybe that last one is just my rule?)
Bath. On a summer day we just can’t be bothered with a lot of things that seem important the rest of the year, such as bathing.
My children are absolutely certain that a quick trip through the backyard sprinkler is more than equal to a long, hot shower. Soap, of course, is entirely optional.
Our son is also prone to standing in slack-jawed shock if confronted with the outlandish notion that he may, in fact, need to wear shoes at some time during the summer.
In his world, if shoes are required, then he’s absolutely certain that he has no desire to go there.
Blooming anew. Summertime is also a time when so many wondrous things not seen during lesser seasons bloom anew such as crabgrass, charcoal grills and ice cream trucks.
It is a little known fact that ice cream trucks are quite possibly the one instance where city kids have an upper hand over the otherwise hands-down slam-dunk superiority that country life has over urban living.
Sure, country kids have fresh air, wide open spaces, trees to climb (and fall out of), creeks and rivers to explore (and fall into), but can that really compare to the late afternoon jingle of a pied piper of ice cream off in the distance? I think not!
Trucking. In my day as a “city kid,” the ice cream truck’s appearance was surely the high point of the day for me and my fellow free-range street urchins.
We’d hear the distant, slightly creepy, yet mesmerizing musical tinkle of their bells, grab our coins (in reality my mother’s coins, I had no pride when it came to sweets), and race off with great speed, tracking the truck down like blood-hounds.
I was, of course, the same child who couldn’t find the laundry room in my own house throughout most of the years I lived there.
But an ice cream truck three city blocks away I could locate with only the coins clutched in my sweaty little fists to guide me.
Sadly, here in the sticks we don’t have ice cream trucks, although once in a great while we might score a frozen Coke from the cooler down at the feed store.
Dog days. We are in the midst of the first week of summer vacation and the new has not (quite) worn off yet.
By this I mean the children haven’t really begun to bicker in earnest (yet).
Nonetheless, the dogs have firmly grasped the spirit of the season and are firmly entrenched in their summer identities.
They shall henceforth be known as “he who runs through screen doors” and “he who inhales all pool toys.”
These summer alter-egos are helpful for keeping track of them as I engage in my ongoing daily battle to convince them that wicker and related outdoor accessories are not, in fact, a food group.
Heat. When it comes to feeding the humans underfoot, I take the notion that “if you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen” literally.
I serve nothing but food that doesn’t require cooking at all, like “the carbohydrate based salad family a la potato, pasta, and/or macaroni salad; or meat that is best cooked outdoors by anyone else but me – mainly Mr. Right.
I am all for any season where my entire cooking involvement consists mainly of tossing bags of charcoal in my spouse’s direction every few days or so, and standing far enough back so as not to lose any facial hair in the conflagration.
From the freezer. Finally, the children, helpful as ever, are doing their part to help me keep my cool on these unseasonably hot early summer days.
They are deeply committed to proving that they can, in fact, live entirely on freezer pops.
As a result, they are also cooling two-thirds of the house with the constant opening and closing of the freezer doors.
Granted this has taken the temperature in the kitchen down a notch, even if I myself get a little hot under the collar when it comes to the electric bill.
(Kymberly Foster Seabolt loves summer and freezer pops. She welcomes comments c/o kfs@epohi.com; P.O. Box 38, Salem, Ohio 44460; and http://userweb.epohi.com/~kseabolt)

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Warm, witty and just a wee bit warped, Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a native of Kent, Ohio, who survived childhood exposure to disco and grew up to marry and move to the country. Her column weaves her special brand of humor with poignant, entertaining, and honest portrayals of parenting, marriage, and real life. She currently lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and numerous dust bunnies who wish to remain nameless.

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