CRAZY DAYS OF SUMMER

 

I recall the song lyrics,

Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer
Those days of soda and pretzels and beer
Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer
Dust off the sun and moon and sing a song of cheer...

You'll wish that summer could always be here
You'll wish that summer could always be here

                                                                               -Nat King Cole

As a child, I remember watching and singing along with Mitch Miller as my family gathered around our black and white television. We watched the bouncing ball leap from word to word  and sang enthusiastically as Mitch waved his a baton keeping his chorus and viewers in rhythm. Now, the hazy and lazy days of summer are all but a fond memory because the crazy days of summer have taken over. The Memorial holiday weekend marks for me and my husband the start of  our busiest time of year! As  restaurant owners and caterers there is little down time. Our customers can't wait for their first long hot dog of the season; served at their favorite drive-in restaurant. Graduations, weddings and reunion dates fill our catering calendar well into July.  There are orders to place, shopping to do, food to prepare, new staff to hire and train and a zillion other things that take precedence over just about everything else. Anyone who has ever worked in the food service industry will tell you it is a 24/7 occupation. The customers come first and service with a smile is the mantra!

Now I don't want to seem like I'm complaining, because this business (with all its craziness) provides us with a nice living; and in this economic climate our fast food eatery is more successful than ever. So for that I am grateful. The seasonal catering helps pay the bills in the winter months when business slows down. What I do miss however, are the summer days of my childhood.

I was fortunate that my mom, like so many moms in the 50's and 60's, was a full-time homemaker. She was June Cleaver personified and my father truly did know best! My family was the one everyone else glimpsed at on TV. My parents loved the outdoors and took their brood camping as often as possible. When we weren't packing the tent and supplies for a weekend adventure, we were picnicking in the yard, taking a ride "in the country" or swimming at a nearby lake.

Ladies, remember those swim caps with the ugly rubber flowers plastered to our skulls like some sort of Polynesian water-lily? Ouch... I can still feel my mother poking and pushing my curly head of hair under the cap and adjusting the chin strap so tight I thought my head would burst! 

Awe the good old days; flaming marshmallows dripping (from sticks sharpened like weapons) into the campfire, catching fire flies (AKA lightning bugs) in mason or jelly jars, hand-me-down musty sleeping bags with broken zippers and best of all, blistering sunburns produced from slathering on baby oil and iodine!  We were told to be in by dinner and expected to spend the rest of the time outside. We counted out our pennies and walked or biked to the "corner store"  (a mile or more away) to buy some candy cigarettes (subconsciously preparing many a child for their lifetime addiction) ice cream or whatever junk our money would buy.  Most days our parents had no idea where we were or what we were doing. Freedom like that for a kid is gone for good :(

Some of my best memories are nights spent at the Moonlight " Five Dollar a CarLoad" drive-in movie, dressed in my jammies and snacking on the goodies that mom packed; especially the Jiffy Pop Popcorn! We arrived way before nightfall so dad could drive from post to post trying to find a speaker that was not only attached but actually had volume. Before the show we'd watch the dancing hot dogs and candy on the screen, enticing the audience to the snack bar.

Mitch was 99 when he passed. He was quoted saying that when he played with his orchestra live, "you strip  all the crapola away".  "No editing, no re-takes". I like that Mitch, and one day I too hope to strip all the crapola away. No editing my life, no re-takes, no do-overs, because it's all live and it's the only life I've got!

I hope to have some more lazy, hazy summer days and I hope you do too!

Now back to the crazy....

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