It’s a “pools and Popsicles” kind of day with sultry temps that soared to a “real feel” in the mid-90s. I keep reminding myself that back in the Wintertime I promised I would not whine about the weather once those Dog Days of August arrived. Well, those Dog Days have done passed us by; we enjoyed a three-day coolish respite, followed by a return of this oppressive weather.
When I left for my walk this morning, I stepped outside to 77 degrees, a dew point of 70 and humidity of 75%. I thought I might melt into a puddle on the ground. I wore my lightest clothing and felt that lightweight shirt clinging to my body before the screen door shut. I decided rather than sizzle like a slice of bacon, I’d just hop in the car and go to the grocery store and walk there. I’m trying so hard to make my year-end goal, but also fulfill a mini goal of 700 miles by month end, so I know I have to hustle to do so. Walking laps at Meijer seemed like a logical choice, as long as I didn’t stop to chitchat with too many of the friendly clerks that work there.
I didn’t do a single blog post last weekend to refrain from whining about the weather. I had pre-registered for a 5K slated for Saturday morning at 10:00 a.m. I didn’t have to drive far, so only needed to pick up my T-shirt and number. All the weather folks had promised foul weather for Saturday, but since they are sometimes/often wrong, I decided to take a chance and go anyway. However, I opened the screen door to hear a long rumble of thunder. “Hmmm – not good” I thought. The sky was dark and ugly looking. I decided to at least run my car in the garage while I was outside … in less than five minutes, big splats of rain had me scurrying into the house. I barely shut the door when a torrential downpour and heavy storm erupted. Whew! Good thing I didn’t leave earlier. It was the third 5K I registered for and did not walk in this year and Saturday’s ugly weather kept me hunkered indoors the rest of the day.
Sunday, I awoke to fog. I planned to attend an afternoon butterfly garden walk in a nearby city. The homeowner’s backyard is filled with perennials and is a monarch waystation, so it is a haven for butterflies. To attend the butterfly garden event, you simply donate a few items for dogs and cats which are given to a local animal shelter. Not wanting to lose valuable walking steps, I went to Council Point Park where I eked out four miles. I left the camera at home since the air was so thick you could cut it with a knife. I was pretty “done in” at the end of my walk, and since it was so overcast, it meant less butterflies, so I decided to pass on the butterfly event.
I’ve walked at Meijer on hot Summer days in the past. It is a large grocery store, so there’s plenty of room to walk and without driving too far out of my way (just three miles round trip). Laps around the air-conditioned grocery store sure beat a steamy trudge on the perimeter path at Council Point Park, at least until this heat wave abates. They say storms tomorrow will bring in cooler weather – aah.
After trekking through the store parking lot, I decided to hang out at the frozen section until I cooled off and then begin walking laps around the store. There were at least a half-dozen people checking out the variety of cold confections, their faces pressed up against the glass doors, so to be sociable, I peered inside too. My eyes honed right in on the Popsicle section because it was deserted – everyone was checking out the array of ice-cream treats and novelties. Long gone are the twin Popsicles I remember from my youth – in fact the Popsicles I perused today are either the sensible, sugar-free or juice variety, or fancy Popsicles with a lot of razzmatazz. Those many newfangled Popsicle treat names that I saw escape my heat-riddled brain right now, but Fruit Pops and Firecracker Pops stick in my mind for some reason.
One thing I know is these skinny, single-serving Popsicles are nothing like the side-by-side Twin Pops with two wooden sticks I remember from my youth.
Perhaps you remember them too?
As people grabbed their frozen treats and scurried off to transport them before they melted in a pool in their car, I checked out the never-ending shelves of scrumptious icy delights. I couldn’t find the orange Creamsicle Push-Ups I remember from my youth, but I saw some perpetual favorites of days long gone, like Klondike bars, Fudgesicles and Drumsticks (a trio of my personal favorites). Then I saw the ice-cream sandwiches, in a 2018 version that was kicked up a notch or two from the $0.10 variety I remember eating as an occasional treat at Huff Junior High. Today’s deluxe-looking ice-cream sandwiches sure aren’t the soggy brown chocolate wafers with a thin layer of vanilla ice-cream where you’d peel off the wrapper and half the chocolate came off with it. The modern version are chocolate-chip cookies, stuffed with a generous wedge of ice-cream then dotted with chocolate chips. I’d think I died and went to Heaven if I tried those.
When we moved to the States in 1966, I can remember racing out to the Good Humor Ice Cream truck after hearing his endless song cycling for what seemed like hours, before he even reached our neighborhood. Along with the other kids on the block, we’d check out his wares. He probably was a mite impatient with us as we clutched our loose change in our sweaty little hands while we pondered what ice-cream delight to buy. No matter what treat we ended up with, nothing beat sharing a double-stick Popsicle with your best friend when you were a kid.
After I cooled off in the frozen section at Meijer, I set off on my trek around the store. In some places, the air conditioning was not cranked as high, and I found myself tromping back time and time again to the frozen and refrigerated sections of the store … not to buy anything today, but just to cool off.
Along the way, I reflected on pools and popsicles and my long-lost pal Linda Crosby.
Most people who love the extreme heat either own a cottage by a lake, or they have a pool. I had a pool once too. If you were a little kid in the late 50s/early 60s, you probably also had one of those inflatable, yellow, two-ring, vinyl swimming pools with an orange-colored liner bottom. I don’t recall my parents using a bicycle pump to inflate that pool, but instead taking turns, while getting quite red in the face, trying to blow that pool up at the beginning of the Summer. They would be sticking their finger over the valve plug in between trying to catch their breath, while two little girls danced around, eager to hop in. We’d have to wait a little longer until the sun warmed the water a bit since it was ice-cold coming from the hose. That little pool would get emptied and rinsed out every night and hung on the clothesline until our next “pool party” and sometimes it sprung a leak which was not patchable, so a new pool had to be bought and blown up again.
I shared my swimming pool with my best friend in the world, Linda Crosby. In that pool, we also shared secrets and grape popsicles. We were inseparable in those days, not just because we had the same first name, but we also lived next door to one another.
My mother would be checking on us from the window to ensure we did not “cook” out there and she’d come out periodically with cups of juice or icy treats, usually Twin Pops. Mom would call us to the door, having broken the twin Popsicle in the kitchen. That was quite an art to separate a double Popsicle without it breaking apart, and it was a task not to be undertaken in the heat of the day outdoors, as it would likely land right onto your toes, and what parts of the Popsicle you DID salvage, usually ended up running down your chin. Mom would hand each of us our half then say “now eat it over the grass because you know your father will be mad if there are purple stains on the cement.”
So, there we were, six decades ago, circa 1958, lovin’ Summer in our sunbonnets, suckin’ on a grape Popsicle and chillin’ in the wading pool. It didn’t get any better than that back in the day.
In looking at this picture, I guess it was better to have a grape, Popsicle-stained chest than purple drip marks on your sun suit or bathing suit? I wish Mom was sitting here right now so I could ask why she chose to make me a topless bathing beauty? 🙂
P.S. – I have another picture to share, also of the two Lindas on a Summer day, but the following Summer. At least we both had our clothes on, sluggin’ down some juice after playing with our beach balls – I guess we must have outgrown that little pool.
[Images of Popsicles from Pinterest]