Thursday, July 7, 2011

Waiting to sing in the rain...

By S. Derrickson Moore
LAS CRUCES — I’ve been looking into fun things to do in the summertime for all ages and I’ve been wondering if good times are really all that different for different generations in different climates.
From my earliest Michigan toddler memories to a high school summer in Europe as an exchange student near the north Atlantic coast, it seems that most of my most vivid summer memories involve bodies of water.
First steps into Lake Michigan. Building sandcastles with my mom and dad. Camping on rivers and lakes.
There were canoe trips with my maternal grandfather on the AuSable River, and never-quite-long-enough summer weeks spent with my cousins at my grandparents’ cabin, at the heart of what was once their resort on Lake Margrethe in Michigan.
But there was no way we were roughing it. Grandma served us gourmet goodies with her china, silver and good crystal at hand. It was a log cabin, but a log cabin with a living room big enough for mom’s baby grand piano, which we happily noodled around when we weren’t sailing, swimming, canoeing, waterskiing, fishing and hiking.
And sunbathing. There was lots of that in the days before mandatory SPF basting. Summer wasn’t really summer until you’d gotten your first sunburn, soothed with a menthol haze of Noxema from grandma’s elegant dressing table.
At home or on vacation, when you grow up in Michigan, it all happens around the water. First kisses at lakeside dances. Flirting with cute guys at high noon, and, if things worked out, long walks on moonlit shores, cuddling on blankets and beach towels with our amigos by driftwood bonfires, or sneaking off for a little more privacy in dunes nearly as bright as White Sands’ crystalline hills.
Parents seemed as drawn to the water as the kids. Before we acquired our own riverside land, my folks would gather all three kids and set up camp on the shores of Lake Michigan for a few weeks each summer. We pitched a tent and slept in sleeping bags on bales of hay.
Our parents made occasional runs to our house for clothes and groceries. Dad commuted to work during the week. Each evening he came “home,” pitched his suitcoat over a tent post, changed into his bathing trunks and joined us for a dip in Lake Michigan before he and mom threw dinner on the grill.
Judging from the crowds at the Rio Grande River races, at Elephant Butte and local swimming pools, I’m guessing that kids everywhere have the same return-to-the-water summertime instincts, even in high desert country — and especially in hot, fiery drought years like this.
It’s not surprising that “Singin’ in the Rain,” one of the world’s greatest love songs to water, was composed by a guy from our territory, Nacio Herb Brown, who was born in Deming.
The long-awaited monsoons are our summer fun water source — and lifeline.
We’ve spent a lot of months praying for rain and at last we’re getting a few drizzles. When the big rains finally come, I’ll be out there singing, and dancing, too.

S. Derrickson Moore can be reached at; (575) 541-5450.

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