Thursday, June 10, 2010

Some Summertime Squirbs

Note to the uninitiated: A squirb is a cross between a squib and a blurb. Here are a few.

It’s summer. Or at least that’s what the weathermen say, as those guys have bypassed the hard-to-remember system of solstice-based dates with something more cognizant called meteorological seasons. With the latter method, each season starts at the beginning of a three-month period based on the prevailing temperatures for the time span. Summer, therefore, starts on June 1st, not on the 21st, and extends through August, with fall beginning, sensibly enough, on the first of September, and so on. I guess I haven’t been paying attention, because I thought this was a new-fangled way of looking at things until I did a little research and discovered that the Societas Meteorologica Palatina, an early international organization for meteorology, made this call several years ago. Like in 1780.
In any case, get out your shorts, flip-flops and Beach Boys albums.
It’s sum-sum-summertime!
I was hoping to spend this past weekend in pursuit of a personal holy grail.
Pie, that is.
We detoured through Aledo on Friday on the way to an errand in Galesburg. Some might say that Aledo is hardly on the way to the Burg, but the power of pie, in this case, at the annual Aledo Rhubarb Festival, made the sidetrip a no-brainer.
And there was, indeed, pie. So many choices from so many churches and organizations, that it was almost impossible to select my pie in the sky. The local Baptists finally won my business with a rhubarb-and-ice-cream combo that fit the bill perfectly. We had planned on yet another pastry-based event on Saturday, with the Elmwood Strawberry Festival beckoning. The weather alternated between muggy sunshine and sudden showers, and finally, after a hot, humid afternoon of gardening, we decided to skip it in favor of a ceiling fan, pizza and a rented video.
A good thing, too, as Elmwood nearly got swept away by a big-time tornado that wrecked parts of its downtown. Like Galva of a few years ago, Elmwood is establishing itself as the place not to be during periods of unsettled weather, with its second big storm in as many years. Sorry we missed the strawberry pie, but just as glad we ducked the wind.
I wrote a column called “The Lawn Mower Man” awhile back that mentioned the fact that I enjoy having the time to think, dream and even write (in my head, at least) when I cut the grass.
But not this year.
It seems like every time I need to mow, I need to be somewhere else, too. Or it’s getting dark. Or it’s starting to rain.
I bought a new mower this year, a pricey little self-propelled model that, unlike my worn-out wrecks of the past, actually does propel itself. It’s a good thing, too, because the speed-of-light movement required by my recent, unwelcome mowing style needs a machine with some real get up and go. My spouse/maintenance supervisor even mentioned it the other day.
She: Are you done with the lawn already? You were really moving out there.
Me: It was starting to rain...and I was supposed to be at a meeting ten minutes ago.
She: Maybe you should start wearing a number on your t-shirt. We could enter you in some races, even.
I’m glad I bought the mower.
We’re on our first big trip of the summer season this week, as we travel to northwest Minnesota to visit son Colin and his family. We could have spent time getting ready for the journey over the weekend, but got hung up on more pleasurable pursuits, like the aforementioned pie-fest and gardening, plus an alluring field full of u-pick strawberries. I was madly running errands on Monday in preparation for an extra-early start on Tuesday morning when I ran into a friend and mentioned we were heading out of town.
“Ah, that’s what retirement’s all about,” she said, referring to my wife’s recent departure from the teaching biz. “Just pick up and go whenever you feel like it.”
Uh yeah. Just as soon as I mow the lawn.

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