Wednesday, July 20, 2005

South of July

Mama always told me not to wish my life away. About 10/12 of the time I've listened. The other 2/12ths happen between July 4th and Labor Day, and, bless her heart...she can relate. Neither of us do the heat well. That's an unfortunate trait for lovely native flowers of the south.

Summer in Tennessee begins gently, with a tease, sometime in the month of May. While the northerners are still wearing jackets, we're prancing around in shorts and tank tops planting our gardens and scouting out a place to swim and fish...preferably both at the same spot. After Easter, it's full speed ahead on sheddin' clothes.

I blame the misery on hurricane season. It seems like from about the middle of June on out ad finitum the humidity just takes your breath away and makes wearing makeup and/or shoes an impossible feat. As the south winds blow up from the Gulf dumping rain on us, the crab grass goes wild! Either that or every dang thing dies from drought. Take your pick, because we have a lottery here.

This year on the farm, the crops look good for a change. It's perfect cotton and bean weather, though the corn was a bit dry before the rains came along. We're dead in the middle of the dog days, when iced fruit tea is a treat and the water hose and cold showers are everybody's delight. This too, shall pass.

There is a comfort in living where there are four distinct seasons, even if one or two of them only last a week. Tennessee is temperate most of the time, except during El Ninos or other such extreme events of the Weather Channel variety. We can expect surprise snowfalls anytime from Nov 1st on and plenty of color in between. The very best snows are Christmas ones that come out of nowhere and fall gently on the wreaths with red bows outside the church.

Spring begins in late February and knocks itself out in full April glory. Out come the grills and charcoal and into the boxes with those sweats! Can you say "grow it?" Since it's been a cold winter, most of us are out of shape and drag ourselves through the paces of the first few weeks of rebirth.

Through all of these seasons we remember to say "Thank you" and "How's yer Mama'n'them" and "Bless your heart." It's a southern thang we rarely forget, even when it's hot as hades or cold as a witches you-know-what.