Saturday, July 12, 2014





Ed Ackerman, optimist


July 29. 2013 12:42PM
By ED ACKERMAN



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Sorry, Nat King Cole, but I do not think of the “lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer” as “days of soda and pretzels and beer.”


What’s with the pretzels? Even the soda for that matter?


The beer you got right. But how about “days of ice cream, and cookouts and beer”? Or “days of cotton candy, and hot dogs and beer”? Or … well, you get the point.


You can have soda and pretzels any time of the year, not just summer. Which, I suppose, goes for beer too. But not for summer beers. You can only order a Sam Adams Summer Ale or a Victory Brewing Company Summer Love now. So, I do.


Sometimes I mix things up with a Corona or a Land Shark. Trendy? Yes. But with that wedge of lime it just screams summer.


When I was in my early 20s and the whole point of drinking beer was to get drunk, almost any brand would do. But now that I just have a couple, I’ve come to really enjoy the taste. Which coincides nicely, I think, with the number of craft beers available today. So, aside from the aforementioned, I’ve also been enjoying Anderson Valley Summer Solstice, Goose Island Summertime, Harpoon Summer Beer and lots and lots of Leinenkugel Summer Shandy.


The latter tastes like lemonade. Now, I normally don’t like beer that tastes like fruit, but this stuff is more refreshing than a dip in Lake Winola.


I recently had a Fleur de Lehigh by the Philadelphia Brewing Company. They bill it as a “spring beer” but it tastes of an Oktoberfest to me. Doesn’t matter. It has a picture of Shibe Park on the label and that says summer.


For those under 60, Shibe Park was once home to the Philadelphia Phillies and Philadelphia Athletics baseball teams. Younger, but not too much younger, folks will remember it as Connie Mack Stadium.


But enough about beer. There are plenty of other reasons why I love summer. Such as:


Iced tea.


Coke Zero.


And a drink out of the palm of my hand bent over a stream in the woods.


Iced coffee. I think.


Hot dogs on a grill.


Anything on a grill.


Hot dog relish.


Fresh blueberries on my cereal.


Peaches.


White peaches.


Cantaloupe and watermelon.


Those little Italian prune plums.


Corn on the cob.


Tomatoes. A freshly picked tomato — still warm from the sunshine, never seeing the inside of a refrigerator — soft, white bread, a slice of American cheese and Hellman’s mayo. That’s a sandwich. You can hold the cheese and mayo and it’s still pretty darn good.


Baseball.


Getting to a Railriders game on a beautiful summer evening or to Citizens Bank Park in Philly for a businessman’s special on a hot Thursday afternoon.


Taking in a Little League All Star or American Legion game.


Napping with the Phillies or Yankees on TV in the background.


Playing catch.


Tennis. Playing it, reading about it, watching it on T.V. When it’s 8 a.m. here, it’s 1 p.m. in London and Wimbledon is on live.I love waking up to Wimbledon on live.


Shorts.


Docksides.


Flip flops.


Sneakers.


No socks.


The Jersey Shore.


Roller coasters.


Thunder storms.


The smell of suntan lotion.


The smell of a steak sizzling over charcoal.


The smell of bacon and eggs at a camp site.


The smell of a walk in the woods, or the Atlantic Ocean first thing in the morning, or the air after a storm.


Popsicles.


Tan lines.


Flowers.


Fireworks.


Rides in the country.


Road trips … with or without a destination. Windows open, no air conditioning.


Restaurants with outdoor seating.


Potato salad.


Kids running through a sprinkler.


Frisbees.


Potato pancakes at a church bazaar. Lines a mile long but no one minding because of the light-hearted banter.


Bumping into old friends visiting from out-of-town.


Staying up past your bedtime.


Waking up at dawn.


Sunrises.


Sunsets.


Kites.


Toddlers in sunglasses. And the tiniest Nike sneakers.


Squirt guns.


Drive-in movies.


Root beer floats.


Italian ice.


Oldies on the radio … like Palisades Park by Freddie “Boom Boom” Cannon.


Trips to the zoo.


Renting a row boat.


Skipping stones on a lake.


Walking in the surf.


Sleeping on the beach.


Clam bakes.


Hiking on trails at state parks.


Farmer’s markets.


Family reunions, with obligatory softball games. And horse shoes.


Badminton.


Sand castles.


Hot fudge sundaes from the Blue Ribbon. Order it with toasted coconut ice cream. You’ll thank me.


Also try one with peanut butter frozen yogurt.


Lemonade stands. 15 cents a cup and a dollar tip.


Salads with lettuce right from the garden.


Sabatelle’s sopresatta sandwiches at the Pittston Tomato Festival. (Order ‘em with “the works.”)


Lightning bugs.


Full moons.


Porch swings.


Novels.


Movies.


Easy going columns.


And beer.




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