/Summer days

Summer days

By Sue Tiffin

I love hearing stories about what summer was like in those days that feel like yesterday, for some of you. While fathers stayed home to work in the city and lived to reunite on the weekends, mothers and their children who could do so would come to the cottage for the entire summer, boating into town or to the lake store for supplies. Sometimes those supplies meant penny candy and frosty Pop Shoppe bottles. Kids from the city became part of the local kid pack, eventually going to dances at Medley’s or the Golden Slipper, even getting jobs in town as part of their summers in the county.   

My summers in Minden, both prior to moving to the area and after, were spent at my Aunt Bernice and Uncle Gord’s resort, tearing down the hill near the Hayes and Gennings trailers on the borrowed Big Wheels bikes of my cousins, waving to the Lesters boating by, eating a bit of corn on the cob from the corn roast but way more burnt marshmallows, really, and ensuring that at least one of us won the frog race that my dad – the frog whisperer – trained us all to be champions in. One last visit to the lakeside store for penny candy and frosty Pop Shoppe bottles was still the one promise that made the start of the journey home at the end of the summer less glum.

Summer is coming now, to the Highlands. Times have changed – the same place we used to catch the frogs for the frog race is made up of lakeside condos now, rather than tire swings, and the little beach we used to meet up on for sparklers at night, digging our toes into the sand, is a lawn. 

But, we have those memories. 

As the warm weather crowds come to spend even a week of the year in the place we all have chosen to call home, they’ll be making their own memories, and we get to be a part of that with them as we continue to appreciate and enjoy this beautiful part of the world.

Together, we have a summer ahead that looks to offer plenty of warmth to store in our brains to get us through the upcoming winter: farmers’ markets, car shows, fairs, movie theatres, land trust walks and history chats, Canada Day celebrations, dinner take-out, floats down the river, art classes, chip trucks, live music, the truck pull, the opera, yard sales, fishing derbies, live theatre, summer reads, barbecues, heritage days, trail hikes, the art and craft festival, boat rides, chip trucks (yes, they’re absolutely listed here twice), Pride, running races, en plein air outings, softball leagues, patios and of course our gardens and that to-do list we might get to after just one more cup of coffee (or mouthful of penny candy) in the sun. Or embrace the new normal of remembering how fulfilling it is to slow down and just take it all in.

We can do so safely and respectfully. Wear your safety gear on the water, drive slowly, brake for turtles, bonfire consciously, use alcohol responsibly if at all, mask up, stay home when sick, and leave the land as you found it, or perhaps even a bit better with less litter if you can. 

We can’t go back to what once was, but one day we might look back on these days, too, and remember how wonderful we made them.