Southern summer memories
Posted: Wednesday, May 15, 2013 8:00 pm
By: By Lisa Smartt
I know. A column entitled “Southern Summer Memories” sounds like a tearful, poignant and beautiful look at southern summers with all their glorious traditions. Lightning bug catching in Aunt Lydia’s backyard. Lemonade on the front porch. Doing something, anything, “down by the creek.” Fish fries at your Granddaddy’s house complete with homemade ice cream cranked out by Uncle George while he complained about local politics and young people’s lack of work ethic. But I’ll save that kind of heartfelt nostalgia for the back page of “Southern Living” magazine.
I have a confession. There’s only one time of year that I don’t really love being a southerner. Summer. It’s the excessive heat, the humidity, the mosquitoes, the sleeveless shirts. OK. It’s mostly the sleeveless shirts. But the sleeveless shirts are a direct result of those other things, right?
I just can’t do sleeveless shirts. I don’t have the necessary self-confidence. I want to. Oh friend, how I want to. When it hits 98 degrees with a humidity of 117 percent, I desperately want to throw on a sleeveless shirt and feel good about it. Proud even. But no.
When it comes to sleeveless shirts, there are two things working against me. No, I don’t mind talking about them. The first thing is obvious to everyone. I’m whiter than a piece of copy paper. And I don’t mean the cream-colored paper that’s supposed to be easy on the eyes. No. I mean that stark white paper that’s a dollar cheaper because it causes blindness in infants and the elderly. I’m whiter than that paper. Seriously. Parents have rushed to put sunglasses on their toddlers at the sight of my bare arms. It’s embarrassing.
The second thing is that I’m jiggly. You know, I have a lot of arm jiggle. Your Aunt Bess had a lot of arm jiggle. Remember? You’d be working with her in the garden and she would enthusiastically raise her arm up and down to celebrate a particularly big zucchini squash. And it was like a whole massive blob of white arm Jell-O was jumping up and down celebrating right along with her. Oh, the memories. The memories. Yeah, I’m just like your Aunt Bess. The sad thing? I can’t even grow a decent zucchini squash. Now you see why summer is so depressing for me.
I know. Some of you successful, driven, Type A people are saying, “Lisa, just get some sun and lift some weights. Tone those arms and stop complaining.” You’re probably the same people who disinfect the shower every other day. Let me guess, you got your online master’s degree while nursing twins and writing a Mediterranean cookbook. Yeah. I know your kind. I respect you. I do. But I cannot be you. If I could be you, I would have already grown a prize-winning zucchini squash.
Summer is just around the corner. Sadly, I’ll be putting away my tasteful and figure-flattering sweater sets. But don’t worry. Out of respect for small children and the elderly, I promise to wear summer clothing with some kind of sleeve … unless I’m mowing, weed eating or gardening. But don’t worry. I do those things as often as I disinfect the shower. Everyone’s summer is safe.
For more information, visit lisasmartt.com.
Published in The Messenger 5.15.13