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Sharon Randall: Summer

By Sharon Randall

What does summer mean to you? It probably depends on where you live or grew up or how you choose to spend it.

If I asked you to describe this summer day, wherever you are, what would you say?

Maybe you’d start with the weather. Is it hot? Steamy? Stormy? Foggy? Is it a good day to be in the great outdoors, or do you need to take shelter inside?

What are you doing? Sorry, I don’t mean to be nosy. But it’s such a big part of my character I can’t seem to avoid it.

Are you sitting in an office? Staring at a computer? Counting the hours to quittin’ time?

Never mind. Just tell me this: What would you do on this one-of-a-kind summer day, if you could do anything you please?

Body surf at the beach? Pick tomatoes off the vine? Take a picnic to a lake with your favorite person? Sit in the stands behind home plate and pull for your favorite team? Lie in a hammock with a fruity drink and read my column?

Daydreaming offers endless possibilities. And it’s free. But it’s only a shadow of reality.

Another question: What’s your happiest summer memory?

Think hard. Maybe it was the summer you learned to swim. Or met the love of your life. Or took that unforgettable trip to some strange, exotic place like Madagascar. Or Walmart.

Years from now, what will you recall about this summer day?

My husband and I live in the desert on hill above Las Vegas.

Today, when I went out to get the mail, the thermometer on our patio — in total shade — registered 111 degrees.

I know what you’re thinking. Yes, it’s a dry heat. But even a dry heat can be hotter than the hinges on the gates of hell.

Morever, the wind was gusting like a giant, cosmic blow dryer, blasting my face and sifting dust on my head like sugar on a cake.

It wasn’t my happiest summer memory. Here are some of my favorites. I remember:

• As a child, wading barefoot and chasing minnows that darted like arrows in a creek on my grandparents’ farm.

• As a teenager, spending a week at Myrtle Beach, getting sunburned with my best friends.

• As a college dropout, visiting California, calling my mother collect to say I’d be staying a bit longer — about 35 years.

• Giving birth to my third child and discovering to my delight that I could hold in my arms and in my heart more than two squirming bodies at once.

• Camping every August in Yosemite, letting my kids run wild and watching Half Dome turn gold in the evening sun.

• Going to Giants games and missing home runs by Bobby and Barry Bonds (20 years apart) because I was standing in line to buy a hot dog.

• Spending a month alone, after my husband died, at a cabin on a lake in North Carolina, a place so secluded my sister swore I was in witness protection.

• Driving solo across country, eating at truck stops, talking to strangers, watching sunsets in the rearview mirror.

• Leaving a life I loved in California to start a new life with a new husband in Las Vegas, of all places.

• Holding my first grandchild and finding in his eyes a brand new reason for living.

• Celebrating a Fourth of July wedding for my husband’s son and daughter-in-law, along with all of our big, blended family.

• Floating with my husband in our pool at sunset, neck-deep like happy hippos, listening to coyotes and feeling blessed.

Those memories and countless others all took place in summer. But if I had to name my favorite summer memory? I’d pick the next one, whatever it may be.

The best of everything, even memories, is always yet to be.

I don’t keep a bucket list of things I’ve never done. I just hope to do more of the same old wonderful things called life.

Here’s wishing you and yours, and me and mine, our best summer memories so far.

Sharon Randall can be reached at P.O. Box 777394 Henderson, NV 89077, or on her website: www.sharonrandall.com.



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