Life Sentences: Summertime

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By: Fran LoBiondo

Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com user Free-Photos.

Complaining about the heat? In a blink, you will miss today’s lemony sunshine.

Great thinkers say the past is behind you, the future has not yet come, so it is best to enjoy the present moment.

Presently, the temperature is 90 degrees under the shade of a large tree, but it’s not difficult to remember freezing my tuchas off in the months between November and March.

My way of enjoying the moment is watching the colors of summer unfold between rainstorms, seeing fireflies winking in the trees after sunset, and visiting the Delaware Bayshore—after greenhead fly season.

My husband and I had some time left on a date without kids, so we stopped in at Anthony Campanella Park just before sunset. We watched a well-tanned man casting his fishing line into the pond, patiently catching and releasing small fish.

My husband asked if the pond was stocked, and the man said yes, but it takes a few seasons for the fish to grow.

The fisherman told a few stories of hanging out with friends at the pond during his youth.

The pond is a sandwash no longer in use, and off-limits for swimming because the sandy bottom shifts precipitously, and many people drown in the depths.

The fisher said he and his teenage friends used to play on a sandbar fringing the water. They made a permanent line in the sand between a safe diving spot and the spot where some huge rocks were submerged unseen.

One night, one of their friends got confused and dived into the rocks, breaking his neck and back. He spent the rest of his life as a quadriplegic.

“There’s all kinds of stuff dumped down there,” he said. Old cars, boats, downed trees. Even a good swimmer could get caught on something down there.”

My husband and I remember going there when our son’s high school’s cross country team took practice runs on a wooded path around the water. It was so hot, they must have been tempted to jump in the water to cool off.

These days, when I have a break in the action of my day, I bring a cup of coffee there and park by the lake and meditate on the progress of my life.

One beautiful day I kept the car running and called my friend, Lin. We talked so long, the car battery emptied of its energy, and I had to call roadside assistance for a charge. Then I had to go to an auto shop to have the battery tested.

Of all the things I should be grateful for, roadside assistance is at the top of the list. I called them when I locked my keys in the car (three times at least), when I blew out a tire on a curb at the Hamilton Mall, when I got stuck at the riotous UPS Store two days before Christmas and had to wait in a corner, nose pressed up to the plate-glass window, watching for a mechanic’s truck while happy Santas mailed their gifts and drove away. I was there two hours before being restored to my car.

And that doesn’t even count the times I checked every inch of my purse, and in desperation turned it over so everything spilled out, only to hear it plonk from the very bottom of the bag.

So, if you find yourself complaining about the heat, just wait. In a blink, Thanksgiving ads will take over the landscape, and you will miss today’s lemony sunshine.

Today our daughter informed me that a friend from school will be visiting us for a couple of days while she takes a tour of the Mid-Atlantic States. If that’s okay.

Immediately my mind goes to the state of our house, which is not stellar. The places that I take responsibility for are, to be kind, cluttered. Greg polices his own bed and helps with the cooking, the laundry, and dishes. The two college-educated children have not much affiliation with brooms, feather dusters or vacuum cleaners.

But. Our grandson, Ben, loves to use our stick vacuum. He swings it around with such enthusiasm that it keeps coming out of the plug, and then he puts on his “I am going to cry” pout, which is irresistible. So I do get household help when Ben is around.

I have actually considered buying a cordless stick vacuum for Ben and for me, but I’m not convinced of their worth.

 So, we’ll welcome Therese’s traveling friend to our lived-in home, and they will enjoy South Jersey’s ripest season.



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