The sun is about to set on the summer.
We’ve had a drought, a derecho, and downpours. The sounds of locusts and music running through the east side streets near Old Settlers Park on Friday evenings, the smell of food from the Downtown Summer Market, and the constant construction of the city’s new 5-star marina now makes way for a Rodeo, a Mexican Fiesta, something to do with porch hopping, and Derek Doherty’s fifth year of Bloodhound football resurgence.
Summers for me have always been about golf, yard work, and saying goodbye to my wife and daughter for a couple weeks while they work their neck muscles watching tennis in Cincinnati.
This year has been special as I caught them both on the big screen while I was watching and tap, tap, tapping away at home feeding the beast.
This camera guy had a thing for my kid as he kept panning back to her while she rooted on Stan “The Man” Wawrinka. I’m a little biased, but she’s a damn good-looking kid. I just laughed and started to wonder how genetics blessed her so. She belongs in the movies. Stay tuned.
I tend to get a little lazy in the summer heat as these two take their annual trek to the Queen City. I usually go, and had planned on it again this year, but the Reds seem to be bowing out post All-Star break so they get none of my money this year.
My summer will come up just a bit short without the Handlebar Grill, the gourmet food and free beer that’s part of a couple days each year along the first base line at Great American Ballpark. I would find my way down to Jack Brown’s Beer and Burger Joint in downtown Cincy at some point. I didn’t make that up, that’s really a place. You gotta Google it and go if you're in the city. Screw Skyline Chili, this place has the best burgers and sweet potato fries in the Midwest. Craft beers and these neat little Rob Lowe-in-the-Outsiders gas station shirts you get if you drink 100 beers. Last time I tried to bribe the waiter out of one, I think I just about had him, too. But he wussied out.
But no John Brown's this year.. This summer I had to settle for Cardinal inclusive tickets with my brother and my nephew. I did get to see the Cubs’ Mike Tauchman rob St. Louis’ Alec Burleson of a walk-off homer in the bottom of the ninth to preserve a 3-2 win for Chicago. That happened about 40-feet in front of me.
My love of baseball had me up and cheering despite my being in hostile territory. You just have to cheer a play like that. I looked at John and Hayden and they both had looks of disbelief as I threw my hands on my head savoring what I had just seen in person.
My bucket list includes seeing a no-hitter in a professional ballpark. I understand the odds of that are thin, but that’s why I pay to go to baseball games. I’m a purist. A 1-0 pitcher’s duel is my kind of afternoon, but seeing that ending at Busch Stadium ranks up there with my greatest summer moments. Spending it with my brother and nephew was syrup on the pancake.
Kelsey and I watched Jay Bruce hit a walk-off in Cincinnati one summer about 12 years ago, while the other girls were watching a yellow felt thing get bounced around and not being able to cheer about it. Can you imagine a baseball stadium having to remain quiet until the play was over? I get it, but jeeesh.
I swear I was the first one in the stadium up when Bruce hit it out. My daughter said so.
“Dad, you were the first one to get up!” I picked her up and we jumped up and down screaming and yelling. Then we got free parking.
We moved our niece and nephew both into college, I threw my back out, but what’s new?
I left my garden alone this year to recycle the vegetation. It’s good for the soil, they say. That was my excuse as I ignored it all summer. I ignored a lot of things this summer - my triglycerides at the top of the list.
I have to say I love the fall. I love the smell. I don’t know why but fall smells like potatoes to me. I like wearing shorts and a hoodie despite the oxymoronic nature of that kit. The fall brings football, Iowa…, Minnesota…, Fort Madison. It also brings about Fantasy Football. That’s a revenue generator, so I take that serious and have won my fair share and then some.
Lee County Chief Deputy Will Conlee’s going to learn that lesson painfully this year. He’s also learning that being friends with reporters usually lands your name in the paper. Haa-haaaaaa.
So the sun continues to blast through my west windows in the late afternoon for a few more weeks as we slip into Indian Summer and the remaining heat. It's good on the parakeets, they are indigenous to Australia, so they're just fine in the warmth of those windows.
I’ve always liked a good sweat, it just seems healthy to me. Summer runs mean a good sweat and happy endorphines. Running in the fall is always easier and more rewarding to me than running in the summer because I can stretch it out a bit – breathe just a bit easier. Although my last run was in the rain and that…was…awesome.
We only get so many summers. I’m not a boater so instead of looking forward to a summer on the river as I did in high school, my adulting time is spent taking it in more than working and playing through it.
Either way, my old man legs will miss the kiss of the sun. The suns-out, guns-out wardrobe must be put away and I need to dress more age appropriate. Warmth keeps the back and arms fluid so I’m already dabbling with hoodies. City Councilman Kevin Rink crinkled up his nose Tuesday when I walked into the City Council meeting with a Vikings hoodie and shorts on.
“A hoodie already?”
“Need to drop a few pounds. And it’s Vikings time.”
So wave goodbye to the earth’s nod to the sun. As the big blue marble starts its annual lean out from the hydrogen and helium-infused sphere of hot gas and we suffer the resulting cooling of the earth remember that Christmas is just 127 days away. But that’s Beside the Point.
Chuck Vandenberg is editor and co-owner of Pen City Current and can be reached at Charles.V@PenCityCurrent.com.
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