And the living is easy
Fish are jumping
The cotton is high
Oh, your daddy's rich
Your mama's good looking
I said hush little baby
Don't you cry
— George Gershwin
Using the lyrics of a song from "Porgy and Bess" is really stretching the truth a little. Cotton does not grow in Stanislaus County; I am not rich and our daughter doesn't want me to sing her to sleep.
But I do like summertime, and my good-looking wife adds that to the long list of reasons why she thinks I am crazy.
I was born in Maine and moved to Sacramento when I was three months old. After high school, I joined the Navy and left Sacramento, but the River City was my home. We spent the first three years of our marriage in Sacramento. Since then we have lived various places in two states and, for almost 20 years, we have been here in the San Joaquin Valley, where our roots have grown too deep for another transplanting.
During the summer, we normally try to get several fixes of ocean breezes and cool weather. I offer to buy my wife a house on the beach, but she suggests that our check would bounce.
One of the reasons I love our hot weather must be put in contrast to the hot weather of northern Nevada. Our hot weather produces fruits and a preponderance of fruit stands. Not long after we moved here, we were living in Denair and I was driving on Geer Road when I spotted a brand new fruit stand, Cipponeri Family Farms. I have patronized them for 18 years because they offer good quality fruit and veggies at a reasonable price backed by friendly service. Other residents have their favorite stands for the same reasons.
Judy, my wife, does see some of the benefits of the heat when I walk into the house carrying a variety of pit fruit and melons. Crenshaws should be ready in a couple of weeks.
A few years ago, we were convinced to go to Kentucky for a family reunion the last week of July. Judy exclaimed, "I can't believe I was raised in this humidity." She has forbidden us to go "home" during the summer, because their summer is much worse than our summer. Here in the valley, we do not have the hot and humid summers, nor extremely cold winters.
Gershwin's lyrics have affected me and I am feeling the urge to go find some trout in the Stanislaus, Tuolumne or Merced rivers.
A couple of lines from Nat King Cole's song keep going through my head.
Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer
You'll wish that summer could always be here.
Belarmino, a Turlock resident, works at the Health Services Agency and is a chaplain with the Assemblies of God Disaster Response Task Force. E-mail him at RevTonyAG@aol.com.