What's So Good About the Good 'Ole Summertime?

Hoosier Perspectives

I am pretty good at playing the Scrooge role.

Published on: June 25, 2012

My mother didn't name me Thomas for nothing. Just like doubting Thomas, the disciple in the bible, I have to see the scars before I believe, at least sometimes. Once I believe, I can be an avid supporter, but I have to believe first. That's why I have earned nicknames like 'doubting Thomas,' 'pessimist; stick- in- the mud and on the list goes.

All I think I'm doing is being a realist- trying to see the other side, trying to determine if the glass is half empty or half full. Maybe eternal optimists always have a smile on their face and I don't, but I would rather know trouble is coming and prepare for it than just assume that it won't.

What has any of this got to do with my title about summer? Let's use summer as an example. Many people love the summer. Me? Not so much. It goes like this.

Many people love a picnic. They see blue skies and a red-checkered tablecloth and fried chicken and lots of laughter. I see the fried chicken, I love fried chicken, but after that I see bugs in the potato salad, the dog snooping around the table, flies zipping around my nose, and ants waiting to crawl into the picnic basket.

Or let's take the county fair. Some see a carnival, cotton candy, snow cones, shiny new equipment on display, a chance to see friends, and the glory of livestock shows. I see trying to keep my kids away from dirty carnival rides operated by sleezy characters, with sleezier clientele slithering through the Midway, unbearable heat- I hate heat, people fixing food in conditions that don't look too sanitary to me, and hour upon hour of sitting in a stinking hot barn waiting for my kids' five minutes in the show ring. It's just not my cup of tea. But my wife loves it. I guess that's what makes the world go around. If she would just bring me home a giant tenderloin one night and a Walleye sandwich the next, and I got to stay home in air conditioning the rest of the time, fair week would be great!

Finally, there's the family vacation. It's been a while since we've taken one, maybe that's why my outlook is a bit skewed. But most people think of playing fun alphabet games in the car with the kids, watching the kids romp on the bed in the hotel, seeing their kids splash around in the water at amusement parks, and just relaxing in the breeze while they do it. Me, I see a 10 hour wait to get to may favorite restaurant near the water park. By the time I get there I will be so sunburned, even though I used the free sun tan lotion provided by the park, that I won't enjoy the fried chicken. I also see the neighbor at the motel banging on the door because the kids are too loud, and some snooty old dude who probably never had a kid in his life complaining to the restaurant manager that my kids are brats.

Well, I'm no Andy Rooney, but I can certainly make the glass seem half empty, huh? I'm going to work on changing that very hard this summer. I vow not to gripe about the county fair unless it gets above 80 degrees in the barn. I won't even complain about all the traffic getting into the state fair as long as my wife is driving. And if we make it to a water park before summer is over, I'll take my own sun tan lotion.

I will admit I agree with the Hoosier poet, James Whitcomb Riley, who wrote about 'Ain't God good to Indiana.' He also wrote about pumpkins and Jack Frost and such. Fall- that's my time of year. Now you're talking- corn harvest and soil judging contests to coach and cool, breezy days.

See, it's just all a matter of perspective. And in Indiana, with four seasons distinct from one another, there's something for everyone. Summer just isn't my cup of tea- it's too hot to drink tea then anyway!