When I was a youngster, you always knew it was summer when you would hear, “Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer. Those days of soda and pretzels and beer. “ It was sung by the inimitable Nat King Cole. Later on summer was announced by Mungo Jerry. “ In the summertime, when the weather is high, you can chase right up and touch the sky,” he sang. And then there was the classic, “Summertime,” by George Gershwin.
There must be hundreds or thousands of summer songs because a list exists of the “Top 100 Summer Songs,” including their number one, “Summertime Blues,” by Eddie Cochran and then The Who.
Everyone must have some sort of cue when they feel like summer is here. Here’s my short list of cures for your summertime blues:
I spent the last few days in Hot Springs, where I do work for Magic Springs Water and Theme Park. They just opened a new attraction called “Splash Island,” a giant playground with water squirting and pouring out all over. Take the kids. It is very cool and you can relax on a nice lounger while your kids run wet and wild.
Hot Springs is a great summertime town for sure. There are three great lakes, of which Ouachita is my personal favorite. There are dozens of good restaurants, watering holes and attractions. I dined at Central Park Fusion and The Pancake House while I was in town. Both are very good. If you haven’t been over in a while, you should put it on your summer list. The Mid-America Science Museum and Garvan Woodland Gardens are also worth checking out.
I also received my Pink Tomato Festival T-Shirt celebrating my favorite vegetable/fruit on the planet. The festival is held each year in Warren. The 57th annual festival will be held June 7-15 and features the elegant sounding Grand Tomato Ball and the All-Tomato Luncheon.
The produce stands are starting to get some tomatoes, but they are not near Bradley County quality. It will be well into June before the famous pinks arrive.
Another sure sign of summer is baseball in all forms. I don’t watch a lot of major league ball, but catching the Travelers at Dickey-Stephens is a summertime must do. It’s also time for the College World Series. Hope the Hogs make it, but it’s hard to make it without hitting.
The other sure sign of summer is swimming pools. I drove by the community pool today and it seemed pretty popular on a not-hot-enough day. Pool life is great from now through about mid-September, when the pool returns to its role as a money sieve.
Aside from just hanging around a pool, a popular water activity at the lakes is called “turtling,” where you find yourself something to sit on and bob around with a beverage in hand. Turtling is a reaction to it being so hot you have to submerge yourself up to your neck to stay cool.
Homemade ice cream is a summer favorite but it seems not many folks go to the trouble to make it. (I tried last summer and failed.) With so many brands these days, you can get a pretty good ice cream at the store. Both Yarnell’s and Blue Bell have great “homemade” vanilla.
But nothing beats loading up a batch of “hand cranked” vanilla with a bunch of chunky fresh peaches. And if you’re lucky, you get to lick the spoon from the Eagle Brand milk.
So right now, we are all in a great mood about summer as the temperatures are in the mid-80s. But we will all change our tune when it inevitably reaches 100+ degrees in August.
I didn’t leave out grilling. I’m going to devote my entire column next week to the art of grilling and BBQ.
Summer is here. Enjoy it and stay safe. See you on the Boulevard.
Neal Moore owns a creative consulting firm, Neal Moore Creative. He has lived in Maumelle over 10 years. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Facebook or on Twitter, @kneelmore.