Summer’s Revenge

“… the wind sprang up afresh, with a kind of bitter song, as if it said: “This is reality, whether you like it or not. All those frivolities of summer, the light and shadow, the living mask of green that trembled over everything, they were lies, and this is what was underneath. This is the truth.” It was as if we were being punished for loving the loveliness of summer. ”
― Willa CatherMy Antonia


Every year, I write an annual reflection on summer at the end of the season.  Last year’s reflection was the most interesting ( in a  twisted sort of way) by far. I thought I’d post it now as the official kick off to summer 2014. Read on and you’ll understand why I posted the quote above. Then pray like you’ve never prayed before that this summer will be nothing like LAST summer.


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Summer’s Revenge

“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.”

― F. Scott FitzgeraldThe Great Gatsby


What a quote. It’s brimming with hope like a hot cup of french press coffee at 6am.

I wish I could relate.

I love summer- always have.  In fact, I write an annual reflection on summer, when its glory fades into fall and the kids go back to school.

Since I was a kid, summer’s always been about freedom. A time to throw off the shackles of  schedules and “have to’s.”  A time to break free from the confines of winter for outdoor adventures.  A time to daydream and not be anywhere on time (well, except swim practice).

Not this summer. Nope. Not at all.

This summer, there was no sunshine at our house. There was rain and lots of it. There were no hot, sticky days. No sitting outside on the porch sipping an IPA unless we wanted the black cloud of mosquitos to enjoy their own bottomless beverage of choice. In fact, summer was full of all sorts of bugs in the Davis household. Real ones, stomach ones, and the dreaded of all bugs- LICE. “What?!”, you say? “Your kids made it through the whole year of school without lice, but they got it in the summer?” Ding, ding, ding, ding! Congratulations.

So, it’s no wonder that I cannot resonate with Mr. F.Scott Fitzgerald.  Lice  sucked the summer fun out of us all.  We spent all of July nit-picking and comb-boiling. In fact, I almost caught my entire house on fire because I fell asleep while my nit combs boiled away to something unrecognizable. Thank goodness for the putrid smell of burning plastic (as well as smoke alarms) as a signal to my subconscious that something was DEFINITELY not right! The nit combs were forever immortalized at the bottom of my favorite stainless steel pot, like some fossil of a prehistoric worm.


As if that wasn’t enough, my kids and I got the stomach bug, too.  In fact, I think I actually contracted lice from my daughter while were both laid low on the same bed after a night of retching. Brilliant. After that I went on a compulsive shopping spree at…wait for it…Walgreens. New nit combs- check. Electronic comb for lice (that doesn’t work, by the way)- check. Lice repellant shampoo- check. Probiotics for mom’s digestive health- check. Gummy bear probiotics for kids’ digestive health- check.  A couple of neon sharpies (just to make the trip worthwhile)- check. Nothing like dropping $100 at Walgreens.

Finally, when it seemed as if all the bugs had moved along to some other hoston their parasitic journey, we drove to Bent Creek to take a family hike. With camera in hand, kids in tow, and baby on back, we were ready to emerge from the pestilence into the outside world.

Not so fast.  As the 6 of us scrambled out of the car, I yanked the sliding door shut on the van and watched with terror as it literally fell off the car.  It’s a curious feeling one gets when you’re 40 minutes away from home, you have 4 kids, no cell reception, and your car has no door.

Thank goodness for the Boy Scouts of North Carolina. If this tragedy had taken place in Philly, I think we would still be standing in the same spot, staring at the gaping hole on the side of our car (or paid an outrageous fortune for a tow truck).  A former boy scout who happened to pass by just happened to have rope, a wrench, and his wits with him.  By the grace of Jesus, Duane, the boy scout, another man, and Aidan got the door back on the track and tied on to the car like a Christmas tree. Just in case you’re wondering, he used a trucker knot. Also in case you’re wondering, we did not go on a hike that day.

Whew. I hope you’re laughing. We weren’t.

But now we are, I think.

In the middle of all the calamity, I should report that we enjoyed a beautiful week at the beach with Duane’s family in early August without any sickness or any bugs. It was like Christmas morning for 7 full days. Nights on the porch listening to the ocean. Runs down the strip.  Boogie boarding with our kids. And even a trip to a water park. Even at 35, I still get a kick out of water slides, especially if my kids are going down with me! (Thanks for putting up with my child-likeness, Duane!)

I haven’t given up on summer just yet. Sliding Rock still awaits in the off-season as soon as the tourists go home. We’ve gotten to go on some beautiful hikes since the car door incident.  And Duane even paddled down the French Broad river in a canoe the other day.  The familiar conviction is returning that life just may be beginning over again in the waning days of summer.









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