Farewell to a family summer

Sep 12, 2013 By Clair McFarland

Summer is ending. In Wyoming, this translates to a few positives.

For one, our husbands, brothers, and fathers --who are actually polar bears in disguise --can finally feel cool and comfortable without having to use the air conditioner as a WMD.

Also, we are now nearly free of the bottomless thirst of our lawns. Mine was downright insatiable all summer.

I had thought to remedy the tediousness of this chore --the watering --by buying a Slip-n-Slide for the children and setting it up on the grass, but 1 and 3 may be too tender a set of ages for the kind of slipping and sliding that doesn't reshape anyone's skull.

We'll get one next year, and then I will get to relive the 1990s in my front yard. And, ahem, the children will like it too.

Throughout the passing of summer, we mourn the end of every event that marks its presence: Rendezvous week, Fair week, and then, the farmers market.

As a family, we make sure to enjoy all of these things for the sake of their sentimental boast of summer, and also because I don't usually hang out with humans over pre-school age, and the idea of them all out on Main Street or at the fairgrounds taking themselves "potty" without my help is a nice concept for me.

To attend such magical gatherings, some tolerance is required. At the Friday Night Cruise, my polar bear husband used his cherry shaved ice as a coolant, and I used my "orange dream" shaved ice to intercept the burnout debris in the air before it filled my lungs. Granted, having a burnout competition right next to every food and refreshment vendor at the event could have been a fluke, but I think it was designed that way for the sake of inventing and patenting a chic new food topping. Iron guts only, please.

At the fair, we risked cardiac arrest every time we got hungry, but those mini-donuts were worth our worry. I can still taste them. And the fry-bread. And the deep-fried Oreos. These are indulgences we don't mind making a couple of days out of the year. Our oil was running low by late July anyway. It's a good thing we ate some.

The farmer's market helps us justify the lack of self-control we exhibit at other events. The air is clean, the food is nutritious, the other goers are mild and not yet to the zombie phase of heat stroke. These markets remind the housewife of life beyond the ABCs, and they also provide one with the best asparagus, broccoli and carrots in the world.

Yes, it is sad when these tastes and experiences end (both the good and the bad). Their farewell seems to invite Old Man Winter --who has no interest in shaved ice, black rubber debris, fresh produce, or deep-fried anything --to afternoon tea.

But once the events that cry "summer" are gone, we are only one day closer to embracing them again, with a renewed perspective, and maybe even more pocket change.

In the meantime, it's time to get pale again, to eat chili, to test each cooler morning with one toe out the door, and to holler up at the leaves that it's time to come down and play.

And amidst this rediscovery of autumn, we'll forget our summer struggles and adventures, so that we can experience them next year with as much awe as children of ages 1 and 3.

And that's why we have seasons.

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