Everything and Nothing: A checklist for people who don’t like summer

Aïda Rogers

Posted August 1, 2022

By Aïda Rogers

For someone who dislikes summer as much as I do, I can’t help but marvel at the many good things it provides. Proof of a divine generosity? I think so. Because it seems that for the three things that bother me most – heat, humidity, mosquitoes that sing in the tight of your ear before making you their meal – there are many more happy things that almost make up for them. As we wilt through August, I’ve made a list of those things to keep me sane while I swat, sweat and swear. Here it is, in no order at all:

  1. Watermelon. For breakfast, lunch and supper. Good with salt or without. Try an old-fashioned “yellow-meated” one if you can find it. And doesn’t it sound gooood cracking open?
  2. Cantaloupe. See above
  3. Swimming. A group of women in McClellanville gather on Sunday afternoons in their special cool place on the Intracoastal Waterway. There’s a dock, a rope and a current, and because they’ve been friends for so long, they can talk if they want to or not.
  4. Tomato sandwiches. Much has been written about this Southern summer staple, and here’s my thinking: It doesn’t matter what kind of bread you use (I like sourdough or rye) or whether you toast it (I do to avoid the slippy-slidey/mooshy-gooshy factor). What you must have, inarguably, are salt, pepper – and this is critical – full-fat mayo. Don’t cheat yourself. Don’t cheat the tomato. That tomato deserves respect.
  5. Cucumber sandwiches. See above
  6. Lengthy browsing in the grocery store ice cream section, and license to eat as much as you want, while practicing indolence  
  7. The colors. The hotter the sun, the more glorious the flowers. My favorites: hibiscus, crape myrtle, cone flower, morning glory, sunflowers, lantana. Also, canna lilies, which have changed my mind about orange  
  8. Peaches, plums, corn on the cob, children selling lemonade, children playing in sprinklers (not that I’ve seen that in years), biblical clouds, righteous thunderstorms, okra fixed every way, including pickled. Also, dill, basil, parsley and mint growing on the front porch; eggplant, and things that can be made with these, like baba ganouj and tabbouleh. Not to be forgotten: figs. Figs being picked, figs being preserved, figs on cereal, figs on buttered toast, figs on ice cream, figs straight from the tree, figs to risk your life for by climbing that tree. I realize this is more than one thing but 10 seems to be the magic number and speaking of magic,
  9. Fireflies
  10. Finally, these limp summer days give us a greeting that never lets us down. And so on this 96-degree day that feels like 101 because of the humidity, I just have to ask: Is it hot enough for you?        

Aïda Rogers writes from an old house in Columbia and a new porch in McClellanville. Her three-volume anthology series, State of the Heart: South Carolina Writers on the Places They Love, includes stories by 108 Palmetto State writers.

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