June 29, 2009

Dressed to Chill

Summer has arrived late this year. We've been experiencing an uncharacteristic downpour in June, which has been fun for me, honestly. I like the rain. But, the sun finally made an appearance, and the temperature is escalating, as it should. Today, while I was driving to work, with the A/C blowing in my face and the summer sun shining down, a Meadow Gold truck lumbered along in front of me. On it's backside, it had a large advertisement for ice cream, with this decked out cow and the caption "Dressed to Chill." And suddenly, I was transported.

Back to those hot Texas summers, spent running around barefoot with as little clothes on as possible, filling the day with trips to the neighborhood pool and consuming popsicles and ice cream treats by the box-full, trying to beat the heat. I have so many good memories from those summers, when I wasn't fighting with my sisters or warding off mosquito attacks.

Back in the day when I used to tan, from all that running around. We would spend every day at the pool, relishing our Lik-A-Maids during the ever-dreaded adult swim, and then passing the rest of the afternoon with friends, riding around on bikes, jumping on the tramp, making elaborate hopscotch patterns with sidewalk chalk, digging up earthworms, or playing some sort of made-up game with weird rules (". . . and then you have to walk with your head to the side and one arm behind your back! And if you don't shut your eyes, you're out! We'll call this game Back Arm!"), all while wearing my pink polka-dot bathing suit with a circle cut out around my belly, which of course, had long dried out from the heat. Why is it that popsicles never taste as good when your body temperature isn't rising steadily in the full sun?
I remember coming into the house on particularly hot days, throwing open the freezer door (before my mother could catch me and say, "Decide what you want first, THEN open the freezer!"), and just standing there, wishing I could step inside and sit awhile, like a reverse sauna experience. Instantly, my sticky sweat would feel like a cool ocean spray to my red hot skin. It was wonderful. And then, when I'd had my fill, I'd pop open the fudgsicle box and take one for the road. Then, I was off into the bright sun again, not to miss a moment of the freedom that comes with hot sun and no school.

There were, however, disadvantages. My poor mom, trying to balance sugar intake with heat exhaustion in her children, while we were pinching as many popsicles as we could when she wasn't looking. And then, at the end of the summer, my hair would glow green from all the chlorine saturation, which I would leave in my hair from the pool all day, until my little ponytail dried into a hard spike, crunching when I gave it a squeeze. All the same, I miss those carefree summers, when my only sadness was being called inside at night and my biggest problem was getting more otter pops to down in one day.

But, in a way, I still get to enjoy a sliver of that childlike happiness, when I step out into blinding sunlight in my shorts and sandals--an ice cream pop in one hand.


Michael said...

Although we're deep into it, I keep forgetting it's summer. I wish we could go back to swimming and popsicle eating. This adult stuff just doesn't give summer its due.

Michael said...
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L&B said...

I agree. we need to hang out soon, just a thought