Sundresses and high heels – some too short, some too tight, some just right.
Men in shorts and tanks that have you stopping in the street; (and others that make you want to have an immediate curbside health fair).
Kids jumping in the pool, diving when they shouldn’t, hitting and splashing folks with their beach balls and tiring themselves out so bad they fall asleep before dinner.
It’s the first day of summer, and I LOVE being black in the summertime!
There’s just something about black BBQs that make me so happy.
It’s the food and drinks, the music, the volume, the conversations, the lightness everyone adopts in their attitudes and appearances. Folks who normally don’t bring anything to Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner show up with whole watermelons, skewered shrimp and veggies, ribs for days.
These folks, they came to show off their summer skills! They want you to KNOW they can throw down on any grill!
Kids are generally happier. No school, no homework, no bedtime rules. If we let them, they would stay in the pool the whole day. (For the record, I let them!)
By the end of June they are already looking like little charcoal people, shining bright and in great shape with another month to spare before the pre-school year preparations begin.
This past weekend, I spent two days at the pool in my building. We made friends I have never seen in the elevator or lobby for an entire year.
(Another great thing about summertime, folks come out of hiding).
At the pool, my teenage daughter and I, two of my friends and their kids (a total of 5) spent hours swimming, lounging, eating, then swimming, lounging and eating more.
We met little 6-year-old Austin, a black boy that is in charge and built like a superhero. He could not stand still. He either suffers from a serious case of ADHD or he’s a boy who hates rules.
Two hours in, Austin’s single Dad gave us the nod that we could discipline Austin, so we females took Austin on as our responsibility and began screaming every 15 minutes or so: “Austin – stop running around the pool!”
It was village-raising like we need in our community. And by the end of the evening, we fed Austin and his cousin several times, we rubbed them down with sunscreen, gave Austin a few time-outs and my daughter Janie became his new babysitter.
Edward, Austin’s Dad, hugged us at the end of the evening and we all got in the elevator together and bid goodnight as if we were family. We were.
Next day, we ended up in the same spot at the pool again. This time, a lot of younger folks were out. By young, I mean in the early twenties, college-aged, beautiful bodies, no-responsibility-having young folks.
Bikinis everywhere! With equally-in-shape young, shirtless men, laughing, touching inappropriately with kids around and smoking hookahs – at the pool!
Whatever. It’s summertime, and I can bend all my rules.
My daughter and her friend Bailey made remarks about the hookahs and asked if they could try them.
All the Moms collectively answered with The Mom Face: “Hell No!”
Next, they asked about the bikinis, and whether they could get bikinis like the young ladies. To which we collectively replied: “Hell No!”
(Honestly, they should be used to our answers by now; but it’s fun just to have the exchange).
An image I can’t get out of my head is all of the kids in the hot tub on one side and the scantily-clad college girls/strippers (it was hard to tell which one, and they gave vague answers when questioned) on the other side, having conversation about favorite movies, TV shows and celebrities.
In the end, we are all the same.
Especially in the summertime, when it feels like black folks get along the best. We say “Hello!” to strangers, we save spots at the park for whole families, we share potato salad and baked beans, we feed and watch out for each others kids, we flirt in our summer gear and we have adult sleepovers with the balcony door open for the breeze.
I look forward to the months of April-September because simply put: Being black in the summertime is all love.
- Mo Ivory, CBS Local