I’ve written odes to spring and fall in my articles. But, summer is a different story for me. I am not a fan of summer. I know things are portrayed differently in some magazines. Well, I’m here to talk reality. I get really irked when I pick up a magazine that displays colorful photos of picture perfect women gardening, wearing a fashionable, wide brimmed hat, garden gloves and a smile, looking like Scarlet O’Hara while snipping flowers for her dining room table antique vase. In the article she is quoted as saying, “I love gardening. I’m up at dawn. I’m passionate about summer’s glorious sun. I want to be outdoors all day.” If she were out all day she’d have to be carried indoors with sun stroke or dehydration. But, this woman never sweats or fights off bugs, her gloves are spotless and her baskets of blooms are perfection. Of course, her garden contains no weeds, poison ivy, angry wasps or black ants. They exist only in my garden.
When I go out each morning to pick up the newspaper, regardless of season, cigarette butts, plastic bags and crushed water bottles from Dunkin’ Donut and Quik Chek find their way onto my driveway. Mylar balloons get caught in my trees. Those things never happen in Scarlet’s garden.
When I decide to have my tea and gluten free, organic toast, slithered with soy butter, outside on the patio, from the corner of my eye I spot a squadron of mosquitoes forming attack mode, and a fly has sniffed my toast and is forming a three – point landing. Now, let’s look at the photos of Scarlet on the following page of the magazine where she is enjoying a leisurely, bug free breakfast. Still smiling, she tosses her hat onto a floral lounging chair and sits under an umbrella shaded table where a tea cozy, crumpets and/or scones await milady. Of course it is cool and shady and bug free. Her husband comes in, smiling like a tooth paste ad, joins her while she pours him tea and serves him a blueberry scone that, the article claims, she made only that morning. If she gets up at dawn and bakes scones that means it’s almost noon. “Dear, what are your plans for this morning?” he asks her, adoringly. She looks across at her knight. “Oh, the usual – hair dressers, manicure, pedicure and meeting the girls for lunch.” He reflects concern. “Sounds hectic, darling. Don’t rush around too much. It’s a bit warm.” Smiling, she reaches out to touch his hand and says, “I know, dear. You’ll be late for the office. I’ll see you tonight. I’ll miss you.” With kisses and hugs he takes his leave.
The temperature seems to be different in my neighborhood. “It’s too damn hot!” cries my husband, slumping down in the shaky patio seat. ‘So? What d’you expect? Its summer,” say I, pouring myself iced tea. “Whadda you going t’do today while I slave in a hot office?” he asks, slathering a toast with butter. “I got my chores, too, y’ know! I don’t just sit on my…” “Take the garbage out yet?” O ask, sipping my tea. “Can’t you do it on your way out? I’ve got things to d, too! Fix the beds, wash the dishes, put clothes in the machine, go to the store and …” “Yeah, yeah! I know! Same stuff! You’re so-o-o busy.” He gets up and looks around. “Lawn needs mowing.” I shrug. “So? I told you we need a landscaper.” He frowns. “What ever happened to women’s lib? Can’t you do it f’r a change? What else you got to do later?” While my mind pictures him hanging next to the Mylar balloons I go over my mental list, pay the bills, iron his shirts, shop for tonight, cook dinner and, if I get a minute after a minute’s rest, looking through the magazine that featured more photos of Scarlet’s picture perfect garden of five acres.
Meanwhile, she’s just received a check in the mail, courtesy of the magazine that she allowed to photograph the morning’s chores. She greets her sweaty landscaper. “Oh, Luis! Fertilize the roses, please, and I spotted weeds over there.” To cure my depression I cancelled my subscription to that magazine and got one that features recipes and living easy.