It happened without much fanfare. Early last week people were still grumbling about the extended winter/spring weather and then it changed for the better overnight. The change was like a giant weight had been lifted off Bend’s collective psyche. Summer had finally arrived.
Three small encounters during the week were clear indicators to me that the foul weather was indeed gone and with its disappearance people were feeling a whole lot better about life.
My first encounter came at the Ace Hardware store on Third Street. On my way out after joining a number of people in search of ant control products, I was approached by an elderly gent. He must have been in his early nineties but was as spry as a 50 year old.
“You know about enza?, he asked with a twinkle in his eye.
“No,” I replied, “I don’t think I do."
“Well, “says the old gent, “I opened my door this morning and in flew enza. Get it, in flew enza. I thought it up on my way over in the car.”
We shared a good laugh and I was so glad the old gent had not only made up the joke but was happy to share it with a stranger. The meeting made my day.
The next day, my wife and I attended a party. It was an outdoor party. The first one of the year and only the second time we’ve been able to sit outside comfortably so far.
The party was a huge success if for no other reason that everyone attending it was so happy to be outdoors, to be enjoying a warm evening.
Sure the jackets were need about 8 p.m., but the party, helped by good food and drink, sailed along nicely. You got the feeling that people were saying under their breaths: “at last, we get to live outdoors again.”
The last of the three encounters that indicared to me that summer was here came the following morning when I took my aging, and cheap, watch to yet again get an emergency fix at the small watch shop/kiosk in the Wagner Mall.
First off, that shop is an invaluable resource. Second the gentleman on duty that morning was in a great mood. The reason? He’d started back with his regular pre-work casual bike rides.
Rides, he assured me, “that really lift my spirits. This morning all the birds were singing and all the gardens looked so nice from all the recent rain.”
He cracked a few jokes and tried out some one-liners as he fixed my watch. I urged him to give up watch repair and consider a future as an opening act in Vegas.
So that’s how I knew when summer arrives. Overnight, people became more open, more engaging and happier.