Sunday, November 23, 2014

Seasons: Going to the beach in Michiana.

Julia had finished her blissful dip in the lake and had stretched out on her towel to dry off. The water was cool, even in August, and the hot sun felt good on her body. In a few moments, the breeze had begun to lull her to sleep.
As she dozed, she became aware that the noise level nearby had shot up. But it was only when a young voice cried out, “Julia!” that she realized she knew the people responsible for all the racket.
-- from Seasons of the Fool

Summer is, hands down, the best season in Michiana.

Our house has never had air conditioning. It gets humid, sure, but usually it's stifling only for a couple of weeks in July and August. Other than that, the temperatures stay pretty reasonable, thanks primarily to the tree canopy that keeps the direct sun off the roof.

Even so, the house would get warm inside in the summer. My mother had kind of a crazy system for regulating the indoor temperature. She always woke up early anyway, and when she got up -- when the house was still filled with cool night air -- she would close the windows almost all the way. Then she'd run fans to keep the air circulating. Between all that and the tree canopy, the temperature inside the house stayed almost tolerable until mid-afternoon or so -- at which point the outside temperature would begin to drop, so Mom would open the windows again.

Her system never worked for me. As a night person, I always get up too late. By the time I've rolled out of bed, it's already starting to warm up outside. My own system involves turning on the fans full blast and hoping for the best. And if it's really awful, I'll go to the lake for a swim.

I took the photo up top last summer at Stop 39, the beach that's closest to our house. About those stops: My parents told me there used to be a bus that ran along Lake Shore Drive from Michigan City, Indiana, to New Buffalo, Michigan. But at some point, a storm washed out a chunk of the road. So now Lake Shore Drive only goes to Stop 41 and there's no bus service at all to my old neighborhood.

Anyway, I never knew how spoiled I was, growing up with a beach so close by, until I went swimming in the Atlantic for the first time. To me, as a kid, a crowded beach was one where seven or eight families had their groups of towels laid out; it was never so bad that you were jockeying for enough real estate to put down a single towel, the way it can be at the ocean. Of course, the beaches in our neighborhood have no parking nearby, so it's just the locals. That cuts down on the crowding quite a bit.

I played a little fast and loose with the facts in Seasons of the Fool when I gave Dave a summer job as a lifeguard. It's been decades since any of the villages in Michiana have hired any. Which is kind of surprising, and dangerous, because riptides do happen in Lake Michigan. We learned as kids not to go in the water when a rip current is present -- but not everybody knows that, or knows that if you get caught in one, you should swim along with the current and eventually it will take you to shore. (That's your public service announcement for today. You're welcome.)

All good things must come to an end -- including summer, and this series of blog posts, and the Kindle Scout nomination period for Seasons of the Fool. We've got just another couple of days for folks to vote for the book. If you want a free copy, now's your chance to get in line for one -- and if you know someone else who would enjoy it, please let them know to click here and vote!

I'll keep everybody posted on the outcome via Facebook and Twitter. (Fingers, toes, and eyes crossed....)

The Rafflecopter will wrap up at the same time as the Kindle Scout nominations do -- so now's the time to enter. Up for grabs is a Kindle Fire HD6 in your choice of color. Rafflecopter doesn't play well with Internet Exploder, so if you're having trouble with the form, try it in another browser (either Firefox or Chrome or something). Good luck! And please tell your friends!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

These moments of swimmingly warm blogginess have been brought to you, as a public service, by Lynne Cantwell.

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