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Past and Present Reflections On the Good Old Summer Time

A Boomer’s Journal

By Tom Anselm

We were at our granddaughters swim meet last night and it was all I could do to keep from cannon-balling into the shallow end to cool off.  Do you think that would have been weird? They probably would have called the guys in the white coats to fish me out.  “Yes, 911?  We have a white male, mid-60s, who just lost his mind to the heat.  He seems to be fine now, but could you send the wagon anyway? He’s scaring the children.”  But really, what are we to expect in good old St. Louis in the middle of July?

Last year, we dodged this heat-seeking missile by spending some time on the white sands of Destin, Florida.  As I recall, folks here at home were enduring a stretch of the triple-digit heat and humidity that makes our river valley town such a treat.  Alas, this year, we are amongst ya, with only a Gatorade and wet towel to stave off the sweat.

I have never been the guy who could handle the hot. As a kid, I would hide out in the shade while others ran amuck.  Many a late afternoon you could find me with a cool washrag on my forehead laying in front of a window that was pulling in warm air by means of an attic fan.  It helped a little that most of our baseball games were at 6 o’clock.  But the dust still floated at waist level, and swarms of gnats seemed to really enjoy my freckled face.  I would try to hang on until the post-game respite of a 10-cent rainbow sno-cone.

Some days, my brother and I would fill up the canvas pool in the back yard and practice our sliding technique.  “Anselm’s around third, heading for home. Heee’s…. SAFE!” Or we’d just hop like idiots over that long green hose with all the holes in it as it sprayed up jets of cold relief into our faces.  Maybe we’d walk or ride out bikes to Suburban Gardens pool or down to North Shore Country Club on Riverview, which wasn’t really a country club but had a golf course and pool, so it was the closest thing to it.

At  least until Bellefontaine Country Club came along.  That place not only had a sweet pool, but tennis courts AND a club house.  The beautiful water, shaded patio, and the Monday night dances featuring Bob Kuban and Johnny Kaye and the Runaways… wow.

What great memories BCC produced for the kids who grew up in it’s heyday.

So I guess this summer hasn’t been all that bad. This past Independence Day  morning was lovely as we took in the Veiled Prophet Parade.  With a gaggle of kids and their corresponding adults, light breezes and a shaded location staked out early by Jill’s sister Mary Beth and husband Rich, we enjoyed one of the many parades with fantastic floats that St. Louis has to offer.  The weather was even cooperative to the bands that seemed to inexplicably dress their musicians all in black, although some groups wore cut-off jeans to help nullify the sun.

Now as far as golfing goes, I like to get out early, even though the grass is dewey (is that a word?) and the bugs are busy. No matter that the guys out there at that time of day are worse off than me when it comes to creaky joints and skinny, hairless legs.  They’re all out for a good time, and I give them credit for keeping it going.  Like them, I want to play in the low 80s… the temp, if not the score.  I know I’m a big baby.  But it has ever been thus.

Maybe we need to just live in Destin for the summer.  I’m sure the lovely Jill would go for that idea.


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