On finding summer

I woke up early Saturday morning with my brunette bangs glued to my forehead by a thin layer of sweat and the brown sheets kicked to the foot of the bed.

"I think the ac broke last night. I woke up thinking I had a fever," James told me as soon as he saw my eyes flutter open in a state of confusion.

"Ugh! This is the 3rd time in the last year we had the ac break on the "hottest weekend of the year," I groaned as I rolled up my pajama pants.

I slowly got out of bed to grab a cup of coffee that could've boiled on its own thanks to our toasty apartment. James left a message with maintenance to see if someone could come look at the ac unit.

I sat on the couch, coffee cup in hand and my legs stretched onto the black faux leather ottoman in front of me when the door knocked for the fourth time that morning.

"Looks like your compressor is completely gone. We can't even try to get a new one until at least Tuesday," the maintenance man explained. James politely told him goodbye as I reminded him of the weather forecast predicting record breaking heat all weekend. Even with several fans running, the coolest part of our apartment was a balmy 85 degrees. So we did what anyone would do. We threw some clothes and our phone chargers into a suitcase and drove 35 miles north to my parents' house.

That evening we sat on the plush tan sofa while my dad regaled us with tales of the Raccoon Riot of 2012 and his epic battle to keep them from digging up his vegetable garden. We delved back into season 4 of The Big Bang Theory while Sheldon reminded us that thursday night is no longer cruciferous vegetable night.

We stayed up late, waiting to see if the live traps would spring, holding one less raccoon that would consider the garden a midnight snack. Mom and I talked healthy recipes and the four of us planned a late summer trip to the central coast of California, debating over dates and prices and layovers and how much Dramamine I'll need to take to keep from throwing up all over my dad again.

On Sunday afternoon I sat in the red, wooden adirondack chair in the backyard, keenly aware that summer was making itself quite known. And I didn't hate it as much as I thought I would. Somewhere between the Carolina humidity and the fact that my reliable 3 month summer vacation is nothing but a fading memory, my love affair with summer had melted into a loathing as cool as my glass of iced tea. Summer had turned into higher electric bills, mosquito bites, and the reminder that my British skin will never hold a tan. And sweat. Lots of sweat.

But something happened in the backyard. A little bit of the childhood magic of summertime started to seep under my skin as slowly as the sunshine slid into the western sky. And I began to notice that summer sized void in my heart was starting to close. The void that only turquoise sandals, dark chocolate raspberry popsicles, and vibrant purple flowers can fill.

And it occurred to me that the magic of summertime isn't lost. It just looks a little different now, much like experiencing Christmas morning as an adult. It's not as robust and grand as the last day of school and pool parties and sitting in my little red raft eating a bag of cherries while floating on the cool blue waters of Lake Tahoe.

Summer is just a little quieter these days. It's found in the thrill of a pop up thunderstorm, tropical fruit, and retro swim suits with just enough ruching to hide the signs of a slower metabolism. It means iced coffee instead of hot coffee, warm evenings lounging by the pool with a book, and sundresses every day.

But despite the constantly changing, some things do manage to stay the same. Summer still means Sunday afternoon steaks sizzling on dad's copper grill. It still means mom has a heaping bowl of fruit salad in the fridge, and extra watermelon because she knows it's what I live for in the warmer months. Dad's vegetable garden will be bursting at the seams with plants and herbs awaiting their turn at a summer salad. And there is always a blueberry plant on the back deck.

But most importantly, the steaks. The chicken. And the grilled vegetables. You can hear the sizzling tap dance and smell the balsamic marinade from across the golf course. If I close my eyes, I'm back in my grandparents' backyard where the coastal fog slowly crawls over the hills and the palm trees sway in the warm breeze. These steaks, they're a Collier family tradition. The tri tip and top sirloin and barbecues are as near and dear to the hearts of the Colliers as American flags are to Memorial Day.

And I have to say, Memorial Day is the perfect way to kick off the summer. Because I guarantee you these summers wouldn't be as sweet as they are without our freedom.


  1. I want everything on that grill - NOW!

    I'm not going to lie, I was so happy to find out that your AC broke the same day mine did. I felt like we were in it together.

    Mine was fixed yesterday afternoon, or else I probably would have gotten a hotel room for the night!

  2. LOVE this post! It's so true.... our summer's WOULDN'T be as sweet if we didn't have our freedom!
    I can't believe this is the THIRD time your ac broke? Crappppppy! I'm so glad you were able to escape the heat to your parents home for the weekend!

  3. Ugh. This is no good. It happened to us last summer. Luckily we have a finished basement and moved life underground. It was so hot in our house. It topped out at 88. At least you has a nice visit with your parents and it sounds like a trip to California. Hope the a/c is cranking soon!

  4. This is so pretty.
    Your perspective is refreshing--Enjoy your moments of summer bliss.

  5. This is what you call making the most of a bad situation!


  6. Just found your blog through Follow Friday!! Love your design and this post!
    And ah, Big Bang Theory. Good times (:

    Brooke, your new follower :)

  7. So pretty. :) I always say summer is my least favorite season, but you're right- there's good even in it.


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