Friday 5 July 2013

Popsicles, Watermelon and Sprinklers

The temperature managed to get up to 34° C the other day here. There are many years when the temperature doesn’t reach 30° at all. Personally, I like those years. I’m not a big fan of sweltering and sweating in places that I have no right to sweat in. It has cooled off the last couple of days, to the point that Louise is thinking about cranking on the furnace.

There isn’t too much that you can do on those really hot days other than stay in the shade, turn on the fan or air conditioner, drink plenty of fluids and if you are so inclined, eat copious amounts of iced treats. When I was growing up in Toronto, we often had those hot, humid days that reached well past 30°. Air conditioning was very rare in office buildings and unheard of in a home. Fans were the things that kept you cool and they weren’t very good doing that.
Somehow, we survived. I suspect it was because of popsicles and watermelon. Do you remember the popsicles that came joined together and you had to break them in half? I was just pitiful at breaking popsicles, leaving one stick with three quarters of the iced treat and the other one with just a tiny mouthful on the stick. The stores all had a special tool to break them, but I always wanted to be a “big” kid and break it on the edge of the counter. Only age helped me learn to break them, and by the time you are fifteen, it isn’t one of those accomplishments that will set you apart from everyone else.
I fell in love with Lolas, which were triangular popsicles without a stick. You would tear off an end and suck on it until it started to melt and then you would drink it. I made my own for a long time when I was an adult using Kool-Aid and baggies. They weren’t as good, but they were good enough. I think for my fortieth Christmas, Louise found someplace in the US that sold them by the case and she ordered one. I rank that Christmas as one of the best that I have ever had. I saved them until the summer and that summer I was transported back to those sweltering hot days when I was ten years old and sucking on my little piece of heaven.
We also fended off the summer heat by eating watermelon. There was nothing better than the first bite on the point of the wedge. It was the sweetest part of the melon and didn’t have any seeds. The rest of the watermelon did have seeds and it was always a challenge to get the seeds on the plate when you were in the house. Outside, you would just spit the seeds pretty much anywhere. We all would try to see who could spit the seeds furthest. I can’t remember anyone winning, because it would always end in an argument. It was fun though, and the rind was bio-degradable. We didn’t know what bio-degradable was back then, but you just tossed the rind as far as you could.

The watermelon that Louise bought the other day didn’t have any seeds at all. It tastes the same, but eating watermelon isn’t nearly as much fun anymore. I suppose it’s possible that I am too old to enjoy watermelons as much as I used to, but I prefer to blame the lack of seeds. I have heard that the Japanese have started growing square, seedless watermelons because they will stack and ship easier. That’s just ‘nuckin futs.

The next time it gets crazy hot, I’m going to do the other thing that used to cool me off as a kid. Find someone who’s got the sprinkler out and run through it naked.

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