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THE REAR END: Sweet, Sweet Summertime

time to slather on the sunscreen and Purell

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Eva Paulus

My, oh my, people of the Chippewa Valley. Summertime is here, and it’s time for some good ol’ summertime fun. You know what I’m talking about, right?

Cool drinks out on the porch swing. Ice cream cones and root beer floats. Working up a sweat as you mow the lawn beneath the blazing rays of a hot summer sun. Grabbing a magazine and lounging in the hammock out back with an ice cold blue raspberry Popsicle tucked deeply into each armpit.

You know, that classic summertime stuff. 

And don’t forget about bike rides down to the ol’ swimming hole. For better or for worse, COVID-19 restrictions have been relaxed at area beaches, so you’ve probably got a good three or four days before they close again due to the gobs and gobs of bacteria we get each year. 

Why, I bet if you close your eyes right now, and think real hard, you can conjure up some childhood memories of running though the sprinkler on a sunny day. The blue sky, the green grass, and the cool water. It’s like there’s a snake lying on the ground spraying you with fun!

Why does that bacteria grow so fast? Because it’s summertime, my friends.

It’s time to load up the car with tents and sleeping bags and marshmallows and a kayak for a weekend of camping up in the Northwoods. Just make sure your next of kin knows how to locate your last will and testament, because the mosquitoes will most definitely kill you. 

That’s a little summertime pro tip from me to you, good buddy.

Now, if you somehow survive the swarms and swarms of bloodsuckin’ skeeters, good for you! Unfortunately, that weird tickling sensation you feel all across your body is the harbinger of doom. Yep, you got ticks! The moment you stepped into the majestic forest, legions of wood ticks heard the dinner bell ring, and they came a-runnin’ for a tasty blood meal. 

Nothing says, “summertime” like “blood meal,” am I right? 

Hey, what’s that sound? Why, it’s the cracklin’ pops and poppity cracks of a firecracker. Is it the Fourth of July already? Nope! It’s just 10pm on a Tuesday night and someone somewhere in your neighborhood is putting on a show! How nice. I bet you didn’t even know you wanted to hear random booms and gunshot-like bangs right at bedtime. But oh, isn’t it just lovely how the nighttime air blows through your bedroom windows, bringing with it the summertime sounds sure to terrify your pets?

Truly, it’s the music of the season.

Speaking of ultimate refreshment for the soul, let’s not forget about that most amazing of summertime contraptions, the humble lawn sprinkler. Why, I bet if you close your eyes right now, and think real hard, you can conjure up some childhood memories of running though the sprinkler on a sunny day. The blue sky, the green grass, and the cool water. It’s like there’s a snake lying on the ground spraying you with fun! How many hours of liquid amusement did you get from that ol’ sprinkler? You just can’t measure things like that in time. You can only measure in smiles. 

But if you did want to measure in time, it’d be about 6 minutes, because that’s how long it takes before someone picks up the sprinkler to squirt everyone else in the face and make their little brothers and sisters cry. 

And those are summertime tears, good people.

Yes, it’s summertime in the Chippewa Valley, and even though we’re kind of still pretty much totally dealing with a dangerous pandemic, it doesn’t mean we can’t remember the reason for the season. 

Sunglasses, Hawaiian shirts, and bright red convertibles. Pool noodles, cookouts, and corn on the cob. Watermelon, sunburns, poison ivy, and heat exhaustion. A whole big, shiny beach ball of fun. So grab your swimsuit and your hat and your face mask and your hand sanitizer and get out there and sort of live a little. 

Remember, it’s only summer once a year for three months.

Be well.

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