Winter and spring were certainly…something. Something weird. Now the corn is as high as a squirrel’s eye—if, by the time this goes to press, he’s standing on his hindquarters, which says something about how fast corn grows—and suddenly: summer! Which reminds me of a Betty Crocker product named Suddenly Salad®, which says something about marketing, the onset of delirium during lengthy marketing meetings, or the neurological effects of pollutants in cities where marketing smoothies dream this stuff up.
Googling “Where was Suddenly Salad invented,” which autofills so I’m not the first to ask, you find a list of consumer grievances about this product. The only person who seems to like it goes by the handle CrzyCatLady. Among my favorites: “This salad is way too salty! Suddenly DEHYDRATED…Thanks for nothing, Betty!” Poor Betty. Was she a real woman? Let’s look!
Of course not, sigh. The facts: A flour milling company that became General Mills invented the sadly fictitious Betty in 1921, when a contest generated so much mail—and baking questions—that the all-male advertising department had to consult the women of Gold Medal Flour. Enter the faked Betty, who “signed” letters and ended up on the radio.
Suddenly Salads’ comments section suggests a product named Armour Treet ® (what, it’s not technically a real treat so they can’t legally spell it right?) that you can mix in with Suddenly Salad® if you have completely lost your mind. It’s like SPAM®, apparently, because when you Google Armour Treet, it autofills with “…versus SPAM” (salt pork and…mystery? NO! Shoulder of pork and ham, according to Mental Floss in a tight online synopsis. God love the Internet.)
Anyway: summer. Bicycling to a swimming hole, I ride into a blizzard of (poplar?) fluff. The air is filled with it. I think it’s snow. Which says something about how short our summers are or how long our winters. Get out there and enjoy it people. Five picnics from now it’ll be over.
This time of year there is fluff in the columns, fluff between our ears. I wouldn’t go so far as to say the livin’ is easy, but it’s definitely less…motivated. To wit, the annual June Hazmat Follies , in which we miss the hazardous material drop-off by one minute (“Sorry, we’re closed.”) and return the bag of toxic waste to the barn for another six months. Every year.
But hey, it’s summer. Songbirds. Six-packs (both kinds). Suddenly Salad®. Certainly Something®. Fishin’. Fireflies. Farmers’ Markets. Tomato sandwiches. River plunges, frolicsome naked moonlit swims. Tenny, golf, DEET, and all the mayo you can slather. A friend’s reaction to my recent column maligning DEET: “I have several times decided that temporary relief from biting insects is worth a lifetime of brain damage.” And this from a father of two. Summer!
Other hazards: we expose ourselves more to wild animals. Something we don’t think about until it’s too late—the crazed rabid skunk is charging your neighbor who is beating it with a shovel to no effect all, she just keep charging. Then there’s the red fox we’ve seen trotting about; that thing covers a lot of ground. He will gladly relieve you of your small dog or cat. And don’t forget the fisher cats. Those crazy varmints will run onto your porch, grab your pet, and run off. Vigilance!
More happily, summertime convo—like this gem overheard lakeside:
“Malcolm, don’t be rolling around in the sand. We’re leaving!”
“It’s an emergency.”
“What kind of emergency? Put it into words.”
“I can’t explain it.”
“It’s not an emergency. We’re leaving.”
Which says a lot about the lure of sand, perceived crises, and family dynamics once school’s out. Good day, good naked swims, and good summer.
Summer Bumper Sticker
Retired Teacher—Every Child Left Behind