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Wednesday Feature: Summer’s Here!

This past weekend was the official, unofficial start of summer as Memorial Day weekend typically ushers-in the summer faves of barbecue, fireworks, picnics, parades, and warm days. I hope you all enjoyed the weekend and took a bit of pause from your fun to remember those special men and women that lost their lives in service to our country (USA).

There are so many summer traditions that I am fond of or fondly recall as part of my youth (a long time ago). Foods of course, cooked on the grill, never go out of style. These days, I am a fan of farmer’s markets, fairs (local and state), and drives on country roads in our Mustang convertible. When I was young, a summer ritual was packing the car with food and drink and heading to the drive-in movies. For a while, the drive-ins were in steep decline, but I’ve noticed a renaissance occurring and within an hour’s drive, we can hit a drive-in theater. The problem for me now, is that there just isn’t the summer blockbuster, got to see, movies that typified my younger years (and memories). Sure, the comic book adaptations are kind of fun, but I really miss the kingpins of my youth.

I’m going to date myself with this post but so be it. I grew up in the 60s and 70s. My young adult years were the 80s. I spent many days in my youth in movie theaters, Saturday matinees with cartoons! I grew-up in the city so getting to the movies on a Saturday was as simple as scrimping together some change (50 cents was more than enough), hopping on your bike (weather permitting), and hitting a local theater – the old-fashioned kind with a balcony, single screen, drawable red and gold curtains, etc. I was a big Tarzan fan, any kind of western, and some of the creepy, old monster movies like Dracula and the Mummy.

As I got into my teen years and early 20s drive-ins were great as were the multiplexes that had just started to populate shopping malls. Movies were great for dates, followed by a pizza or ice cream. Seeing a blockbuster at a drive-in was a real treat and I have many memories of nervous jumps and audible shrieks at a drive-in theater where I saw Jaws. The enormity of the screen and we, as always, were fairly close, was a perfect venue to see a flick like Jaws.

As I have gotten older, I no longer have a big desire to go to the movies via a theater. My wife and I will try to conjure-up a date night at a drive-in this summer, provided we can find a movie we both will like. A couple of places we know of, occasionally pull-out an oldie, worthy of our attention. I guess we’ve fallen into a routine where, we can find something on-demand for a few bucks and be comfortable at home with a glass of wine and some snacks – definitely cheaper and more practical when it comes time that either of us needs a pitstop.

As I migrate into summer in the great Midwest, I can’t help but recall my favorite summer flicks, the blockbusters of a few years back. My ten favorites are below including the year of their release. I hope this post stirs some fond summer memories for you. Happy Hump Day!

  • Jaws – 1975
  • Star Wars, Episode IV (A New Hope) – 1977 (this was the original Luke, Leia, Han Solo, et. al. flick)
  • Star Wars, Episode V ( The Empire Strikes Back) – 1980
  • Raider of the Lost Ark – 1981
  • Star Wars, Episode VI (Return of the Jedi) – 1983
  • Ghostbusters – 1984
  • Back to the Future – 1985
  • Top Gun – 1986
  • RoboCop – 1987
  • Total Recall – 1990

And, last to mention, an all-time guilty pleasure film of mine from the summer of 1996 – Twister!  Still a must watch when I can catch it.  



May 31, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wednesday Feature: Here’s Comes Summer!

I can feel it and smell it…. summer is coming. Every year at this time, it feels like it’s taken forever, but soon, the warmer days and the longer days (hours of sunlight), erase the darker memories of dreary, cold days. Winter becomes a distant memory, replaced by a joyous desire to romp outside.

Where I primarily live, the celebration of summer is almost a ritual. Winters can be long and springs, short. Some years, spring is almost unrecognizable, and summer becomes, a quick jump into warm, muggy days. This year though, winter was relatively mild marked by a decent amount of snow but no real prolonged frigid, sub-zero periods. Just north of me, the snowfall was righteous and the melt, the cause of major flooding along the Mississippi. The transition to summer can be brutal at times.

Early summer is also storm season or can be. When I lived in the Great Plains, this timeframe marked the sweet spot of tornado season. I’ve seen my share of tornadoes, fortunately not up-close. Still, I love watching storm systems and cloud formations as warm fronts clash with upper air cold fronts, etc. The views can be breathtaking and soul filling.

Soon, next week in fact, the summer season kicks into high gear. Most schools will be closed or soon to close. Memorial Day marks the official/unofficial start of summer with picnics, a long weekend, the Indy 500, and maybe, the first family camping trip. While the official first day of summer will remain two weeks away, Memorial Day is a perfect weekend to begin in full force, the rituals of summer. County fairs start along with various festivals. Farmer’s Markets awake (a favorite for me) and early produce like asparagus, some lettuces, rhubarb and onions become available. My summer planting is also done so now, I can wait for the flowers and the first tomatoes and peppers that will add (wonderfully) to my summer meals.

I now will spend almost every evening on our open porch or deck. We’ll eat outside nearly every day. When time permits, we’ll hop into our Mustang convertible and take long(ish) jaunts to various favorite spots for lunches or ice cream. We’ll hit parades and firework events as often as feasible. The Farmer’s Market will become a weekly stop, one or more locations. Suffice to say, I will be outside as much as I can, charging my batteries for what I know, will be another winter. Summer gives me the memories and energy to hold-off against the northern winds and frigid, dark days in January.

With Memorial Day next week and the marking of another summer season right along with it, feel free to share your memories in a comment to this post.  I’ll try to retain as many as I can!  Happy Hump Day!

May 17, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment