Friday, October 14, 2011

A Bittersweet End to Summer

And another summer comes to a close.
This one has been bittersweet, mostly sweet though. Outside of a couple of extremely hot days, it has been another great summer.
I love summer. As a kid summers meant fun in the sun, baseball and sleeping until noon every day. Now that I’m a little older, summer means fun in the sun, baseball and sleeping until 11:45 (you have to grow up sometime, I guess).
In the past couple of years, I have really fallen in love with the things that are synonymous with summer: the lake, the beach, the heat, etc.
I don’t like cold weather at all and I’m not really looking forward to this winter and the freezing temperatures.
After doing a little research on the Internet — The Source Of All Truth — I discovered that winter was actually invented in 1826 by a man named Wayne “Lil’ Wayne” Terwilliger from Green Bay, Wisc.
Many people probably don’t realize that Wisconsin used to a warm state with plenty of sunshine and cheese. But Old Man Terwilliger decided that he was tired of being hot and sweaty all the time and burning is hands on his steering wheel, so he set out to make a change in the weather pattern.
The first thing he did was started tinkering with fall. Just a few days of cooler weather at first. Most people in Wisconsin were excited about the cooler weather because it was a respite from the dog days of summer.
After a couple of months of “fall,” Terwilliger decided to turn up the evil and invented a little thing I like to call “the blue Norther."
The people were all used to the cooler temperatures and were just finishing packing away their shorts, swimsuits and culottes, when the really bad weather hit.
Temperatures started dropping into the 40s or worse. People took to wearing coats and scarves and gloves.  The next thing you know, snow started falling from the sky and piling up on the deck chairs around the pool.
After a while, Terwilliger sold his evil plot to the rest of the country and everybody adopted winter. Terwilliger became a billionaire after marketing the very first “pocket warmer.”
In a cruel sense of irony, Terwilliger died in 1918 on a beach in Key West. 
I don’t like winter.
My age probably has something to do with that but I really just what to spend my days working a little near a beach with a view of the ocean.
Is that asking too much?
I did get one last opportunity over the Labor Day weekend to get out on the water for a couple more days of summertime fun.
My friends have a lake house on beautiful Lake Travis and invited my wife, my kids and me along. We even took the granddog, Lola the Bullpup along for the trip. We spent most of our days swimming in the lake, floating the Comal River and drinking. The nights were spent laughing, carousing and drinking. It was a blast.
The weekend was almost perfect. I say “almost” perfect, because of all of the stuff Mother Nature has thrown our way this summer.
The lake levels on Lake Travis are almost 60 feet below normal. What is usually a beautiful green body of water has become a beautiful green stream on the Colorado River. Docks are either having to be moved or left on dry land. Boats ramps are closed. Skiing and other lake activities is severely curtailed. Even my beloved Lake Texoma is having problems with an algae outbreak, causing most people to stay away from the lake all together.
And the lakes aren't the only thing affected.
Because of the drought in our part of the country, much of the farm land around the state is also drying up and either catching fire or threatening to catch fire.
It is very sad.
But life goes on doesn’t it?
I’m reminded of the Joad family in John Steinbeck’s “Grapes of Wrath” about the plight of an Oklahoma family in the midst of the Dust Bowl. They went west seeking jobs and opportunity.
They left behind a home and most of the belongings, because they wanted a new life in a land of abundance.
I guess I’m the same way. I know the rains will return, the lakes will fill back up and the Texas pastures will eventually turn green and fertile once more.
Until then, we deal with what Mother Nature hands out.
Our lives are the same way. Sometimes circumstances of life cause our joy to dry up and go dormant. But the beauty of this life is that we can load up our stuff and choose to find happiness and abundance every day.
So this day, I choose abundance. I pray for rain and warmth. I will laugh, and sing and dance. And I will wait patiently for the return of summer.
And at some point, I may even have a Twinkie.

To read more of Rodney Hays’ humor, check out his blog at him on Twitter and become a friend on Facebook.

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