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Summer is a 3-Act Play-- Early, Middle, and Late.

To me, Act I means joy in the form of strawberries & fireflies & really late sunsets.

Joy is in the air.

Here in 2024 the longest day of the year (in terms of hours of daylight) falls on June 20th, a date conveniently within the continuum between Memorial Day and the Fourth of July... a.k.a. Act I of Summer. As pre-Internet schoolchildren we rejoiced in the arrival of June for the extended outdoor play time and liberation from the classroom. An endless summer seemingly lay before us, even though we'd be back at our desks in eleven weeks.

And then there are THESE--

Dear Reader, is there ANYWHERE a fruit more joyous than the strawberry?

One might think of strawberries as nature's message of pure joy-- red and heart-shaped, they look like love itself. Deliciously sweet, yet never too sweet... tangy enough to taste like they are good for you. (They are.) Perhaps best of all, they attain the gastronomic equivalent of eternal life when preserved as jam... a jar of June sunshine to brighten one's breakfast on a frigid winter morn.

But the best thing about Summer's Opening Act might well be what it DOESN'T mean-- College and NFL Football. Even those of us who keenly follow the game need a break from the constant barrage of pigskin drama-- the point spreads, scores, injury reports, suspensions, arrests, possible trades, and more. The NFL Draft, which draws more attention than the freaking playoffs in other major sports, concluded on April 27th, barely six weeks ago. Preseason training camps will open in mid-July... barely six weeks from NOW.

In the all-too-brief interim, let us pause to enjoy the fireflies and strawberries.


On June 20th-- the date of this year's Summer Solstice-- the sun will disappear into Lake Ontario's western waters at 8:54PM EDT and keep the horizon pink and orange until well past 10:00PM.

Okay-- watermelons might well be nearly as joyous as the strawberry, but no diner ever served me watermelon jam with my whole wheat toast in the winter.

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