Friday, July 11, 2014

Lazy, Hazy Days of Summer

By Karen Osburn, Archivist

A few weeks ago I went to a wonderful Strawberry Social at a local church and found on each table a lovely centerpiece with 3 brightly colored fans standing like straw flowers in a garden.  The note on the basket encouraged the people sitting at the table to use the fans for their comfort if they were warm and requested that when they leave they replace them in the centerpiece so the next diner could use them.


Those fans brought to mind the old song about the “Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer” and how very glad I am summer days are here.  I know quite a few folks who dread the summer heat, but not me.  The summer warmth reminds me of the days of back yard swimming pools which killed your grass (until someone dropped a snapping turtle in them and the pool was punctured), fireflies, raspberries picked right off the bush and warm from the sunshine, dusty dirt roads by summer cottages, and swimming in the lake from the end of May until the beginning of October. 

I love the way the warmth embraces me when the humidity is just right so that the air feels “soft.”  I love the smell of warm roses, warm honeysuckle and warm earth.  I love to see things grow!  Tomatoes, cabbage, yellow beans, beets, cucumbers, eggplant, cauliflower, broccoli, lettuce, and potatoes just spring out of the ground.  Strawberries, blueberries, and melons arrive in abundance, while cherries, apricots, peaches, nectarines, and plums ripen on the trees and bend the branches toward me so I can pick them.  The grass not only requires lots of mowing, but also beckons me to walk through it in my bare feet and feel the carpet of green blades between my toes.

Firemen's Parade, 2007
I remember days spent on a lake with my dad fishing, canoeing, and boating.  I remember nights spent toasting marshmallows by campfires.  I love the freedom of no boots, coats, scarves or mittens.  I enjoy watching my cats sit in the windows as dusk falls relaxing comfortably on the windowsills and sampling the smells on the night air circulating the neighborhood. 

Cruisin' Night
Do any of these memories from my childhood on a different lake in a different New York State town relate to Geneva?  Oh yes!  I now watch the fireflies infiltrate the back yard behind my apartment and the sound of the Pulteney Park fountain plays gently on the air with the songs from the Methodist Church carillon drifting through my window.  I share ice cream with friends at one of several ice cream/frozen yogurt stores and cookouts and chicken Bar-B-Qs abound.  I thoroughly enjoy the fireworks display the American Legion puts on at the end of their carnival each year.  I love the local church carnivals, the parade on Memorial Day Weekend, the Firemen’s Parade, the Sons of Italy Festival, the Latino Festival, the Plein Air Festival, Crusin’ Night, Music on Porches, the Garden Walk, the Tour of Homes, Geneva Music Festival, Medley of Tastes, Jane Austen Day at Rose Hill, Farm Heritage Day at the Johnston Farm, and the Rose Hill Mansion Food and Wine Celebration.  Wow, that is just a partial list.  I am overwhelmed with the wealth of summer fun that abounds in the Finger Lakes region.  There are cheese trails, wine trails, brewery trails, farmers market, stands and stores selling homemade ice cream, the list just goes on and on.  I don’t think it matters where you are in New York State, you will find many activities to participate in that will remind you of summers past.  And with a little effort you can encourage your children to make memories that they can fondly look back on each time summer roles around anew. 

Pultney Park, 2006
I hope each of you steps out into this bountiful and beautiful area we call the Finger Lakes and make a memory today.  Don’t pass up the chance to eat ice cream, go swimming, see wildlife, visit a local museum, smell and taste the summer.  We have about 3 months to recharge ourselves before winter; last one to the lake is a rotten egg!

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