It was a good summer

Despite the challenges of living with a global pandemic, I’ve had a very good summer.

I love summer. I love spring a little bit more — it’s not as hot, and trees and flowers jumping to life brings me joy. But summer is a close second. Yet most years I feel like the summer passes me by without me enjoying it as much as I wanted.

Schwinn Collegiate

Not this summer. I got to ride my bike a lot! I’ve loved to ride my bike since I was a boy. Dad bought me my first bike, a well-used Schwinn, when I was seven. I was unathletic, clumsy. But I took to riding that bike like I was born to do it. I’ve loved to ride ever since. Career and family make it hard to find time for the bike. But this summer, working from home has let me take plenty of lunchtime rides. It’s been terrific.

I also got to take some of my meetings on the deck in the sunshine. On the hottest days I opened the deck umbrella to get a little shade. Sure, I can hear the trucks on I-65, which is about 600 feet away. I look forward to the day we don’t live near the highway anymore. Other than that, it was lovely to get that change of scenery in my workday whenever I wanted it.

On the deck

Early in the pandemic we allowed no contact with friends and family. We were all in on helping to flatten the curve. But when we could see that the pandemic wasn’t going away, we knew we couldn’t keep up full quarantine for the long haul. For our mental health, we would need to see our friends and family.

Repairing and restaining our unsightly deck had been on our list for this year even before the pandemic. But during the pandemic, the restored deck has allowed us to have friends and, especially, family over. We’ve had some lovely times out there, mosquito bites notwithstanding.

I’m always a little sad on Labor Day because it means summer is ending. Cooler weather will soon be here and summertime activities like bike rides and deck evenings will become less frequent and then end. As this summer fades away, however, for once in my adult life I feel like I made the most of it. I hope that sustains me through the winter. The cold and the pandemic will make it so much harder to be out in the world.


29 responses to “It was a good summer”

  1. Marc Avatar

    To stretch your deck relaxing consider one of those deck propane fire pits or standing propane heaters.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Yes, I’ve looked at the propane heaters. I can get one for $150 that will heat the deck fine. Margaret’s happy for me to pull the trigger on it. It should get us through maybe even the end of the year if the late autumn is mild.

  2. The Trailhead Avatar

    I’m with you. Summer is glorious, spring even better. We’ve also been biking like there’s no tomorrow. The habit has been first thing in the morning to elude the worst of the heat, but we’re branching out a little on time of day. We love the Eagle Creek Trail.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      The heat was challenging a few times. I’m so not a morning person, and exercising early has always been hard for me. I prefer to do it in the evening. But evenings are full of family, so I’m backed into lunchtime. A few times I got so soaked through I had to shower and change clothes after! But just a few times. It wasn’t so bad otherwise.

      When I first moved to Indy I lived close enough to Eagle Creek Park to bike over there. (46th and High School — yikes, it was a terrible neighborhood.) I had a pass (wristband) and would ride to the park, around the park, and back home and it was a great ride and workout.

  3. fishyfisharcade Avatar

    I feel like this summer has been one of lost opportunities. A lot of the annual events that I’d normally enjoy – some outdoors, some along the lines of the summer blockbuster movie season – have been removed by the pandemic unfortunately. As I’m not a fan of hot weather, not when I have to work or carry out chores in it, at least, the removal of a lot of the things I’d normally look forward too have lessened it to an extent.

    I’m an autumn (or fall, as I guess you’d call it across the pond) type of guy though. I love the sense of the days drawing shorter, the hint of chill in the air gradually turning to beautiful, crisp, frosty mornings. The colour in the trees. Mist and fog to make beautiful photographs. The festivals of Hallowe’en and (in the UK) Bonfire Night – although I fear they will be different this year too. All leading up to winter’s arrival and Christmas.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I don’t like it when it’s wicked hot but I do like warm weather a great deal. I really dislike the cold. So winters are hard for me. I guess I don’t mind autumn in and of itself but all autumn I dread winter.

      1. fishyfisharcade Avatar

        I guess we have it quite easy in winter by comparison as they’re pretty mild over here. People get into a panic if we get a half-inch of snow! You probably get *much* more of a chill over there in the Midwest.

        1. Jim Grey Avatar

          The winters in central Indiana are nowhere near as bad as the ones in northern Indiana where I grew up. We routinely got 100+ inches of snow every winter there. The cold was terrible, so bad that when I walked to school my nostrils could freeze shut. Here in central Indiana the winters are fairly mild in comparison — but we still have cold snaps and bad snowstorms. Just not as many or as often.

  4. bodegabayf2 Avatar

    I wish I felt as if I had made better use of this summer. Covid, wildfires, power shutoffs…it seems it is always one thing or another.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Out west you all had a much harder time of life than we did out here in flyover country. You all have had a much hotter summer than us, too. I hope you’re holding up ok.

  5. brandib1977 Avatar

    Reading this made me so happy for you. Glad you got to enjoy your season and hope those memories keep you warm through the winter. I can see you flying through your neighborhood on your bike!

    I’m super excited that fall and cooler temps are on the way as this is my season to really get out and enjoy. Summer is too miserable to really enjoy the outdoors by my estimation. And I’m fortunate to love winter as well. With that said, I feel for anyone who doesn’t enjoy winter as it would be a long and miserable season if you didn’t love it.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Spring and autumn are the best road trip times. An old friend and I used to do an annual road trip together, usually in July, and we’d wilt. Finally she suggested we move to October and it was so much better!

      1. brandib1977 Avatar

        An October road trip sounds amazing. I have time off in October and am trying to figure out a cheap road trip. Perhaps you can get out for something fun this fall. :)

        1. Jim Grey Avatar

          If you’ve never done the National Road from the Ohio River to Columbus, DO IT. I’ve been in a surprising discussion in the comments on my recent Peacock Road post and it’s had me wanting to redo that trip so badly. Here are three maps a fellow National Road fan made that do a pretty good job of lining out the road’s old alignments.


          1. brandib1977 Avatar

            Thanks! I will have a look! I’ve done that road in sections but never straight through. I didn’t have time to look up Peacock Road yesterday and am itching to go back to Salt a Fork to explore the hiking trails some more so that’s absolutely an option.

            I’ll probably wait and make a game time decision. There’s an old fashioned air show in Virginia I’d like to go see again and maybe hit some presidential homes but the weekly air shows haven’t been consistent this year and I would only go if I could attend the air show and take a biplane ride. :)

  6. Nancy Stewart Avatar
    Nancy Stewart

    Fall is what I look forward to … I’m a flannel shirt or sweatshirt kinda person. Spring is my least favorite … dampness chills me to the bone and too much mud everywhere. Definitely prefer the crisp, cool air of fall and winter.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      If I could wear shorts and polos every day I’d be a happy man! A couple of our sons, however, prefer temps in the 50s.

  7. Dan James Avatar

    Great to read how you’ve made the most of this summer Jim, and turned some of the pandemic’s restrictions to your advantage.

    I feel we’ve done the same.

    I don’t like very hot days and we had a couple of stretches of perhaps eight or nine days each where it was low to mid 30s, not dropping below about 27 or 28 all through the night, and it was very draining. I prefer 20 degrees max, preferably more in the low teens!

    But we made the best of it in the garden with water fun with the kids, and did some work and cleared some clutter in our garden to maximise the space for playing.

    Plus the amount of time we had with the children compared with previous years has been amazing, because of them not being at school. I don’t think we’ll ever get such an opportunity again, I’m glad we enjoyed it as we did. I believe we’ll look back at 2020 as something of an idyllic summer for our family.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Sadly our summer has been far from idyllic because of some challenges one of our sons has created for himself, ones that have affected us all. But from the perspective of enjoying the summer weather, at least I’ve made the most I could of it.

  8. dionyb Avatar

    Yes it was a good summer despite the ongoing pandemic and the personal crises each member of my family has had to work through this year. I have a natural inclination to fall into a rabbit hole of despair but I’m trying my best with a major attitude adjustment to not let that happen.
    My son stayed his longest time at home since going away to school in 2017 and my daughter will live with my wife and me for another year after deferring college enrollment. It was glorious to have a full house again and having spruced up my backyard earlier during quarantine it became a popular hangout for their friends.
    I finally pulled the trigger and bought myself a used one man canoe so I could be on the water since team and club sports are still restricted. A big bonus for me was having my kids go paddling also by borrowing from my club’s collection of one mans.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Sounds like your summer has been surprisingly similar to ours, except ours involved no canoes!

  9. DougD Avatar

    I had a good summer, enjoyed the whole family home, and a canoe trip into the interior of Algonquin Park.
    Fall is my favourite season though. I’m looking forward to dry and cool weather, leaves turning colour on the tree and crunching underfoot.
    I’ve booked a cottage up north with my father and siblings at the end of September. Hopefully we’re all healthy and ready to go then.
    I must admit my bicycle has not come out of the basement this year :(

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Ooo a cottage trip. I wish we could get one of those in. That would be awesome.

  10. Darts and Letters Avatar
    Darts and Letters

    You’ve got a lot of your family around you and that’s everything (though the challenges that come come with that, which you’ve acknowledged over the time are not lost on me). It’s fun seeing the posts with your bike in them, it’s like a symbol of freedom and possibility and I always feel like there’s good news when you’ve gotten out for a ride! I love the swept back handlebars. I need a new bike and I think for sure my next one will have those.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I love it that I get to ride so much this summer! I’m just back from 5 miles on the bike as I type this.

      I wouldn’t mind a new bike. But I want one just like the one I have, just new. I’m having a hard time finding 3-speed bikes. The ones I do find have straight-across handlebars like you’d find on a hybrid, or beach cruiser handlebars that are too swept back. It might be time to truly invest in my bike, having it completely overhauled. Perhaps even a new 3-speed hub. It wouldn’t be original anymore, but at least it would last.

  11. J P Avatar

    Summer has slipped by for us, between Covid and a demanding work schedule. I am a Fall Guy, preferring the slight chill in the air that eliminates the bugs outside.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Excellent point about the bugs.

  12. Steve Mitchell Avatar

    Seasons! I lived for 24 years in Brisbane, which has a sub-tropical climate. There it is hot and humid for nine months, and you get three months of quite tolerable weather, which is still warmer than summer where I live now. No autumn leaves to speak of, no joy of spring…..just a tedious continuum of sameness. I love it here. Winter is great, because it is followed by a proper spring, summer and autumn!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I didn’t know that about Brisbane! I’ve always lived in Indiana (except for a summer in Germany in the 1980s) and so four true seasons is all I know. Our springs and autumns don’t transition us from winter to summer and summer to winter as smoothly as they used to, however. They used to be a gradual transition in the weather. Now they’re all over the map, cold to hot to cold, dry to wet to dry. Not as enjoyable as 40 years ago.

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