What bugs me the most about summer

By Mike Rainone for the News

Like so many others those hazy-crazy-lazy days of summer are my very favourite season. It is ours to enjoy to the fullest, those long and hot sunny days and perfect nights to stay up late and party hardy, extra time for the holiday of our choice, less clothes to wear and more time for fun, a chance to cruise and let loose on the beach or to show off our outdoor toys and games, and the most ideal occasion for simple snacking and lots of barbecues and beer with family and friends.

We will always look forward to those cooling showers as well as the sudden August boomers and annual evening light shows, during which we can spend some quality downtime inside, but we all hope and pray as we casually sky-watch that those unpredictable summer storms will not ravage our vital crops and gardens. About the only thing that really bugs me about summer is the sudden invasions of those creepy crawly no-see-ums insects that love to bite tempting exposed flesh, crawl where-ever they wish and have us instantly swatting, itching, and twitching, while spoiling all our family fun in the sun. In most cases we hold out some hope that the little pests have either frozen or drowned before our warm season has even arrived, but their arrival is always unpredictable, and we usually have to scatter quickly to get the bug spray, rub on some lotion, and bravely be prepared for the next onslaught.

The Summer Bug update for 2019 in Alberta warns us that although those pesky mosquitoes did not arrive early this year because of the later cold spells, but that they will likely make up for it now due to the increased rain and humidity. On the bright and beautiful side it will be a great summer for butterflies due to a Painted lady migration, which only happens in our province every 10 to 15 years, so get out and wander the woods and have your cameras ready to capture a magnificent photo-op of natures finest.

Did you know that houseflies are the most common insects in the world, and that these pesky and filth-inhabiting creatures are known to be able to transmit more than 60 kinds of diseases to humans and livestock wherever they hang out? Instant prevention and annihilation of all these horrific pests has always been performed over the years by means of our trusty fly-swatters or by hanging those spools of sticky tape around our homes and buildings as well as all sorts of bug sprays, traps, and zappers, but the quickest fix and control is cleanliness and removing garbage in all areas.

We should always be very thankful for those birds, bats, bugs, and other creatures who enjoy dining on most insects, but on the other hand there has to be a reason why Mother Nature has placed them all in our midst, season by season. Whatever the case we need to persevere each and every day, enjoy our great outdoors to the limit, no matter what might get in our way.

Just for fun

A friend of mine sent me a neat article last week that was called an “older than dirt quiz.” For those of us who are now seniors I am sure that most of you will remember some of these great everyday perks and treats that we enjoyed when we were growing up:

Blackjack chewing gum, teaberry, candy cigarettes, and butch wax.

We had wax coke shaped bottles filled with colored water, soda pop machines that dispensed glass bottles, S and H Green stamps, PF flyers, and metal ice trays with a pop-out lever.

Who could ever forget the coffee shops and diners with table side Juke boxes attached to each booth, where you could impress your gal pal by playing her favourite song over and over again for just a handful of nickels? The two movie theatres in Ponoka also showed newsreels and cartoons before the main feature.

When we got our first black and white television sets way back in the 1950s the shows came on at 8 a.m. each morning and then shutoff at 10 p.m. after the news and was replaced by the test pattern. Our favourite after school shows were Howdy Doody, the Lone Ranger, and the Ed Sullivan Show on Sunday night just before bedtime.

How great it was to chat on the telephone with our friends out in the country along the party line, but if you stayed on too long or swore the operator would cut us off. Among the sweetest thrills of our youth were spinning 45 rpm records of our favourite singing stars on an R.C.A. record player, going to sock-hops at school, or having neighbourhood peashooter wars.

Don’t forget to come out and view the amazing skills of our Ponoka town and county green thumbs and hobby enthusiasts on full display on Saturday, Aug. 17 during the Ponoka Agricultural Society annual Bench Show at the Royal Canadian Legion. Summer comes in all flavours of rain and sun and family fun, so get out and enjoy every moment, and have a great week, all of you.

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