In the northern hemisphere, it’s National Summer Begins Day; called the Summer Solstice, it’s the longest day of the year. Unlike the Winter Solstice, which is the shortest day. Lately, the days and nights, here, have been growing hotter as well as longer. At this time of year, almost every living thing is more active and energetic than at any other time of the year – plants are growing bigger and faster, and people (as well as animals) are “on the go”, doing more outdoor activities.
Schools are out of session for the next few months and families are planning their summer activities and vacations. Summer vacations create some of the most wonderful memories! In fact, the month of June is still celebrating National Camping Month and National Great Outdoors Month, as well.
During the summer months [unofficially, Memorial Day through Labor Day], is usually the best time for special events like company picnics, graduation parties, class/family reunions, and weddings. These are always the busiest months, especially as Michigan’s tourism is on the rise. There’s so much to do in Michigan’s great outdoors, especially May through September!
The summer activities and entertainment venues vary slightly, by region – but usually, throughout the summer, you can find, somewhere nearby, a botanical garden, flea market, farmer’s market, petting zoo, classic car show and/or “cruise”; as well as thespian renaissance, art, craft, and/or music festivals. Pools, beaches and water parks are also open now, everywhere you look. Additionally, you’ll find seasonal amusement parks, small-town carnivals, and 4-H/county fairs.
Some of the outdoor, summer sports and other such activities that Michiganders enjoy include baseball, softball, soccer, track, golf, disc golf, putt-putt golf, tennis, volleyball, and horseshoes (the game). Then there’s the backyard games like cornhole, ladder toss, washer toss, and so on. Many table-top games have been made into large lawn versions for people’s backyard enjoyment (or to take them to a park or camping).
Many in-land summer activities include picnicking, camping, hiking, biking, motor sport racing, motorcycling, motocross, dirt biking, “4-wheeling”, “mudding”, dune buggy riding, horseback riding, and more. Popular water sports and other such activities include kayaking, canoeing, sailing, boating, jet skiing, water skiing, parasailing, swimming, scuba diving, snorkeling, and fishing – even building sand castles at the beach.
Michigan has 3,288 miles of fresh water coastline that borders four of the five Great Lakes, giving it the record for being the longest in the U.S. In fact, regardless of water type (sea or fresh), Michigan is second only to Alaska in total length of coastline.
That’s a lot of beaches – and there are even more beaches along the state’s many in-land lakes and rivers, as well. It’s no wonder that water sports and activities are among Michiganders’ favorites, fishing possibly being number one. Our fantastic blue water surroundings are what attracts most of the tourists who visit here.
FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…
As seen in…
Gloria Pitzer’s Secret RecipesTM Newsletter (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May-June 1987, 126th issue, p. 3)
GOOD SAM – CARING AND CAMPING
NEEDLESS TO SAY, I can’t wait until we can begin our ‘motor-home camping’ again with our Good Sam friends. It’s our weekend vacation pleasure, May through October. Becoming part of the Good Sam organization is the best thing that has ever happened to us.
Where we could both enjoy mutual friendships and activities. [Plus,] wonderful, caring people, who constantly remind us that ‘there are no strangers in Good Sam – only friends we haven’t met, yet!’
After all of us kids moved out, on our own, Mom and Dad bought a camper and traveled a lot during the summer months – often mixing work with pleasure (although, Mom’s work was also her pleasure). It was undoubtedly much more affordable, with only the two of them than when they took us kids along, renting cabins or motel rooms!
Joining the Good Sam Club was always among Mom and Dad’s most favorite experiences and a huge source of wonderful friendships and memories. Mom kept many scrap books full of photos and special keepsakes from their many trips with the Michigan and Ohio chapters of Good Sam.
Mom often wrote about those trips her summer newsletter issues – from the new restaurant dishes they tried as they traveled (of which Mom imitated when they went home) to all of the great people they met everywhere they went. Mom and Dad especially looked forward to Good Sam’s big “Samboree” events! Mom would sometimes lecture at these about her short-cut cookery concepts and recipe imitations, such as those in her Mostly 4-Ingredients cookbook.
MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…
As seen in…
My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 100)
MORE THAN FRIENDS
FRIENDS ARE A TREASURE and, when we count our blessings, we count our friends twice! It’s not possible to have a full and happy life without others to share with, to help when help is needed, to be helped when help is offered…
Since our camping experiences with the national RV organization, ‘Good Sam’, we have truly adopted their slogan… ‘In Good Sam there are no strangers – only friends you haven’t met yet!’ How very true. What would we have done had we not been blessed with meeting Irv and Helen Henze [or] Helen and Chuck Mogg? How much we miss Chuck since he passed away. Friends are those people who know everything there is to know about you, but like you anyhow!
AGAIN, MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…
As seen in…
Gloria Pitzer’s Mixed Blessings – Recipes & Remedies (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; March 1984, p. 22)
IF I WERE AN ARTIST…
… I would cover my walls with pictures that would recapture the beauty of all the lovely places I’ve been to and would miss once I had left them. I would recapture a restful sunset over the wooded hills of northern Michigan sloping toward the Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes, or I would relive the blazing colors of autumn that shroud the clusters of trees along the uninhabited backgrounds of the countryside surrounding Grand Traverse Bay.
But, alas, I cannot put such places into paintings, so I’ll have to paint them with words in order to revisit them in my memory whenever the thoughts of which John Ruskin must have written – those secret places of the happy mind, ‘nests of pleasant thoughts’…‘houses built without hands for our souls to live in’.
Perhaps the food for thought, of finding these restful places in our memories, is just the elixir we often need; one more sufficiently nourished with sustenance to keep us physically fit, while we let our famished affections go hungry!
Join me again, next week, as I further discuss popular summer activities like camping, graduations, reunions, and other types of potluck-style gatherings; as well as celebrating the many food-related holidays that are being observed nationally.
In honor of Wednesday, being National Onion Rings Day, here is Mom’s copycat recipe for “Onion Rings, Like BK Used to Serve”; as seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 112). [A revised reprint of Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May 1983, 3rd Edition)].
P.S. Food-for-thought until we meet again, next Monday…
Some of June’s observances include… National Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Month, National Candy Month, National Caribbean American Month, National Country Cooking Month, National Dairy Month, National Iced Tea Month, National Papaya Month, National Soul Food Month, and National Turkey Lovers Month!
Today is also… National Vanilla Milkshake Day, National Ice Cream Soda Day, and National Seashell Day! As the third work week in June (20th-24th for 2022), it’s also… National Boys & Girls Club Week – #BGCWeek!
Wednesday, June 22nd, is… National Chocolate Eclair Day!
Thursday, June 23rd, is… National Detroit-Style Pizza Day, National Hydration Day, National Pink Day, and National Pecan Sandies Day! In honor of the latter, here’s Mom’s short-cut, secret recipe from her self-published cookbook, My Personal Favorites – Limited Edition (Secret RecipesTM, Marysville, MI; Nov. 2000, p. 3).
…25 down and 27 to go!