Think About It: A perfect summer day

Don Meyer, Ph.D.
Don Meyer, Ph.D.

“A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing, and the lawnmower is broken.”

James Dent

How would you describe a perfect summer day? Would you include information about the weather with the temperature and sunshine just right? Or would you describe a favorite activity such as a softball game or spending a day at the beach or going for a hike in the woods or taking a bike ride?

Perhaps you would visit a unique place or eat a favorite meal or just sit on the porch reading a good book. Maybe you would just do nothing at all.

A perfect summer day for me would start without a cloud in the sky and a high temperature around 80 degrees with low humidity.


Evie and I would be at home with our grandson, Noah, and his father, Kevin. The first thing Noah and I would do would be to make a quick trip for breakfast to America’s Most Wanted Donuts for a dozen of their delicious donuts...eight cinnamon sugar and four chocolate covered.

A perfect summer day would include a picnic in our backyard with a visit from our nephew, Mark Meyer, and his wife, Charity, and their two children, Adora and Kenton. They would arrive with a fresh bouquet of flowers around 11 a.m. giving us plenty of time to cook hot dogs, hamburgers and steaks on the grill and corn on the cob on the stove. Of course, the potato salad, Watergate salad, and baked beans would already have been made the day before. The red beets, pickles and chips would simply need to be placed in their proper serving bowls.

Evie would set the table for eight people in our backyard under an old pine tree next to the bird bath. The white chairs and red and white checkered table cloths with a beautiful hydrangea bouquet as a centerpiece would cause Kevin to say, “It looks like a backyard picnic out of Country Living magazine.” On a separate table would be a large, beautiful decanter of fresh water with crushed ice and bright red strawberries floating inside next to a pitcher of sweet tea and a variety of sodas.

A perfect summer day would have to include vanilla ice cream cones with sprinkles for the “cousins” and strawberry shortcake and ice cream for the adults.

The cones would hardly be devoured on a perfect summer day when the focus would shift for the children from the picnic table to getting into their swim suits for a water fight. Noah’s dad, Kevin, would join the “cousins” in the refreshing dual.

After a thorough summer soaking, everyone’s attention would turn to a game of croquet with enough rule-flexibility to make it fun for all. A little bit of baseball would have to be thrown into the afternoon activities. The uneven terrain of the yard would add to the creative skills of the players.

A perfect day would end at 6 p.m. with Kenton playing in a 7-year-old all-star baseball game about an hour and a half away. And there we would all sit just off the third base line watching him play a six inning game with his friends. The highlight would be when he scored the winning run with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning. We would all stand and cheer for him and his entire team.

Yes, that would be a perfect summer day. Just a few weeks ago we had a day like that. If you doubt me, I could show you the many pictures I took to record what a perfect summer day looked like long after it was over.

Henry James must have had that kind of day in mind when he wrote, “Summer afternoon...summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” Or as William Carlos Williams observed, “In summer, the song sings itself.”

Think about it.

Dr. Don Meyer is the president of Valley Forge Christian College, Phoenixville.

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