Summer 2019- -when Lily made herself known and urged me to take my first selfie. . .

Wow! Summer is here, and for possibly the first time in my life it seems like a positive happening. Did my previous dread of summer come from loss of the school year routine? The looming specter of family vacation? A calendar-driven dislike for warm weather, as I was born in mid-autumn? All of those things, apparently, no longer sway me. Summer, I am here to romp and play with you and I greet you with a sense of euphoria!


Here you go again.


What, Lily? And don’t go raising your precision plucked fourteen-year-old eyebrows at me. Don’t you ever greet summer with a sense of joy?


Maybe, if I’m going to a summer theatre workshop, but in general it’s not my favorite season.

I kind of like it. I mean, wearing shorts is icky because my thighs jiggle a bunch but I like swimming, especially in salt water when it makes me extra-buoyant.


I’m with you there, 9, and I know you’ve enjoyed our recent swims in Veterans’ Memorial Pool. And Lily, I could tell you had a fabulous time at the Walla Walla Chamber Music Summer Festival concerts on Tuesday and Thursday.


True. The music was fantastic and the cellist was cute for an old guy.


Yes, he must be thirty, at least. Honestly, I can’t believe how wonderful it feels to be at live music performances, outdoors, where fully vaccinated people don’t have to mask. After the past sixteen months, that in itself is amazing. But, oh, the music! Tears streamed down my cheeks for the sheer beauty of it.


Do you think the wine has something to do with that? I mean, the music is really nice and everything, but. . .


I’m sure a glass of wine helps me relax a bit, 9. It’s not always easy, going someplace by myself- –


With us!


With you. Sometimes events aren’t all that friendly for a person going solo. I’ve been pleasantly surprised that, since the last time I attended chamber music, I now know a handful of people who go to the festival, too. Friends met through the Living History program, and a scholarship organization I’ve joined, and neighbors of friends, and friends of friends.


Quite a few people are by themselves, too, for one reason or another. Some are determinedly solo, like me; others may have a spouse or partner who is busy or simply doesn’t care for chamber music. It’s really fun to be at a public event doing something I really enjoy, and seeing people there that I enjoy, too. I even got re-introduced to a college professor I’d studied with sophomore year who I haven’t seen since 1979!


Tuesday, the first night of the festival, came together perfectly to create a joyful experience. Everyone present- -audience and musicians alike- -felt the wonder of art unfolding before us and deep appreciation for the hours of rehearsal, the financial contributions, the winery venue sponsorships and the solid effort of dozens of volunteers who bring the festival together. So much was lost during the pandemic shut-down, but this, joyfully, is back.

The program for night one of the 2021 Walla Walla Summer Chamber Music Festival!

And my favorite ice cream places never went away.


Excellent reminder, 9. We may have to pop into Bright’s or Klicker’s for a cone this weekend. And I want to get a sleeping bag, too. We’re at the start of triple digit highs this Saturday through July 4th, at least. It might be both literally and figuratively cool to sleep under the stars during the heat wave.


I wonder what the cats will think?


I’ll think about that later, Lily. In fifteen minutes we’re joining a webinar through Whitman College by Rob Manning, Chief Engineer at JPL (Whitman Class of ’80) on “Exploring Mars with Robots.”




I agree, 9, and we can think about what we learn as we’re dozing off in the back yard, contemplating the planets and stars. Plus, we still have the Symbol Quest activity to start at Mountain View Cemetery. And all of this stuff happens before we take off for our shows at the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center next month.


Summer. We’re busy, we’re happy, we’re out in the world again. Hope you are, too!

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