January 19, 2021

The IM Saturday Brunch: July 22, 2017 — Summer Pleasures Edition


”It is talk-compelling. It puts you in a good temper, it makes you satisfied with yourself and your fellow beings, it sweeps away the worries and cobwebs of the week.”


Today around the Brunch table, I’d like to have a discussion about the good ol’ summertime. Though I’m more of an autumn aficionado, summer carries pleasures that are wondrous and fair. And today, I’d like to ask us to participate in a conversation about some of our favorite summer pleasures. At the end, I’ve posted some summer music for your enjoyment.

So, let’s begin. Going around the table, share your own personal answers to these questions or to others that come to mind, if you like.

• • •


What foods do you especially enjoy in the summer months? Do you have some favorite recipes or ways of preparing those foods that you’d like to pass along? Charcoal grill or gas? In your part of the world, what’s coming out of your gardens and showing up at your farm stands these days that you can’t resist?

Also, do you have some special drinks that you enjoy in the summer? How do you fix your iced tea? Lemonade? Do you have favorite summer beers, wines, cocktails?

Does your church or other churches in your area hold any special meals for the congregation and/or community? What’s the hottest item at the potluck?

Baseball fans: who’s got the best ballpark food and fare?

• • •


What kinds of things do you like to do in the summertime that you normally don’t do other times of the year? What do you enjoy doing with your family? your friends? by yourself?

Does your community hold any special summer events that you like to participate in? Is the place where you live a good place for walking? biking? Do you have well tended parks people enjoy in the summer? Do you have access to outdoor concerts? art fairs? county or state fairs?

Do you have a front porch? a deck? Do you make good use of them in the summer? How?

Any special hobbies or avocations you give special attention to in the summertime?

Does your church or another local ministry have special summer activities, service projects, mission trips, or other activities in which you like to participate?

• • •


Do you make a “summer reading” list? What kinds of books do you like to read in the summer?

If you made a list this year, what are some of the books on it? How are you progressing?

Can you give us a quick summary of something you’re reading this summer (doesn’t have to be a book) that has been satisfying and enjoyable to you?

• • •


In many places, summer is the season for travels and vacations. What was your most memorable summer vacation?

Are you going on any trips this summer? If so, tell us about them.

Do you have some favorite places that you return to time and again? Mountains, woods, or beach? Famous landmarks or out of the way places? City or country? Any good state parks or recreation areas in your neck of the woods that you enjoy in the summer?

Are you a camper? Tent, pop-up, or full-scale RV? Or is your idea of camping a nice hotel room with a view of the woods and the lake?

Do you like to drive when you take these trips? Fly? Train? Boat? Bus? Do you enjoy cruising? Where have you been and where would you like to go?

• • •


What music says “summertime” to you? Are there particular artists, albums, songs, or works that complement the summer spirit in your heart?

What’s on your playlist this summer? Anything new that you are enjoying this summer?

Below, I present some of my favorite summer music from the classical, jazz, and pop genres. I hope you will enjoy them and experience a bit of whatever “summer” means to you in listening to them.


Eine kleine Nachtmusik, Mozart

I enjoy light and carefree classics in the summer. Summer to me is Mozart and Vivaldi, serenades and dances, pops concerts, water music and fireworks. Mozart’s Eine kleine Nachtmusik is a serenade, which means it was written to be played outdoors at times in parks and public gathering places. This piece is so popular and well known that I thought I’d put up a specialized example of it. Here is a delightful guitar version of the allegro movement by Amicus Trio:

Rodeo, Copland

Summer music in America is not complete without Aaron Copland. Here is “Saturday Night Waltz,” one of four Dance Episodes from Rodeo. This is quintessential summer in the American West.

Une barque sur l’ocean, Ravel

Finally, here is a perfect piano piece by Ravel for relaxing on a starlit evening, overlooking ocean waves at the shore.

• • •


Summertime (Gershwin), Louis Armstrong & Ella Fitzgerald

One of the most covered songs in history is Gershwin’s Summertime. For you today, we can’t do much better than the rendition by this duo that pretty much defined jazz and popular music in the 20th century for many people.

The Girl from Ipanema, Getz/Gilbero

This familiar beach song is from one of the most notable jazz albums in my lifetime. The album won the 1965 Grammy Awards for Best Album of the Year, Best Jazz Instrumental Album – Individual or Group, and Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical. This was the first time a jazz album received Album of the Year, and it was the only one to win the award until 2008. This song, “The Girl from Ipanema,” also won the award for Record of the Year in 1965. This was the sound of summer when I was growing up.

Stella by Starlight, Miles Davis

Summer is also the time for steamy, starlight nights, and who better to catch that vibe than Miles Davis and the musicians who would produce what many consider the greatest jazz album of all time, Kind of Blue. “Stella by Starlight” is included on some of the later editions of that record. One jazz publication placed this song in the top ten jazz standards of all time.

Beat 70, Pat Metheny

Pat Metheny is my favorite contemporary jazz musician. And much of his music, with its Brazilian influences, exudes summertime freedom and joy. Here is one of those songs, “Beat 70,” from the album, “Letter from Home.”

• • •


Goodbye Soleil, Phoenix

I’m not going to begin to roll out all the pop music that is suitable for summer. I mean, just start with the Beach Boys and go from there, right? So, instead, I’ll give you my pick for this year’s best summer album. It’s by the French band Phoenix, and it’s called “Ti Amo.” Here’s the Rolling Stone review.

The band’s press release said of this record that it represents “our European, Latin roots, a fantasized version of Italy”, and that the songs focus on “simple, pure emotions: love, desire, lust, and innocence”. Guitarist Laurent Brancowitz commented that the album recalls “summer and Italian discos.” Shimmering synth sounds, airy melodies, and infectious, happy beats make this the perfect summer album when riding down the road, wind in your hair.

Here is Phoenix’s video for the song, “Goodbye Soleil,” which captures perfectly the playfulness of a European holiday at the shore.

Happy summer!


  1. Robert F says

    nearly ripe peaches
    in a bowl on the counter
    soon will be perfect

    • I have eaten
      the plums
      that were in
      the icebox

      and which
      you were probably
      for breakfast

      Forgive me
      they were delicious
      so sweet
      and so cold

      —“This Is Just To Say” by William Carlos Williams

      • Robert F says

        What a wonderful poem. I love William Carlos Williams. I was born and raised in NJ, nearby where Williams lived most of his life, practicing medicine and writing poetry. He was the poet of place, of the everyday, ordinary world, of what’s-right-in-front-of-you; in this way, he was like the Chan/Zen-inspired Chinese and Japanese poets

        But I prefer my peaches and plums at room temperature.

        • I like my peaches, plums, and apricots directly from the tree.

          • At the farm market where I buy peaches in the summer, you can see the orchards where they’re grown right across the street. From the orchard, to the market tables, into my car and to my kitchen counter; almost directly from the tree. But they have to be eaten quickly, since they ripen all at the same time.

      • Christiane says

        love this!

        (my own fridge is filled with plumcots, the green kind that are SO sweet, but very seasonal, so I loaded up)

      • Christiane says

        Hi TED,
        I’m on my feet cheering Nick Bulbeck’s comment over at TWW July 23, 4:51p.m.

        it’s awesomely courageous and I wish I could cheer for it in person

        Have a great Sunday!

    • nearly ripe peaches
      in a bowl on the counter
      already perfect

      I forgot my Zen in the first draft.

    • Oh my goodness! Fresh summer peaches [swoon]! Is there anything better? I think not.
      Mine are gone. All gone.

      • That Other Jean says

        There’s a produce stand a mile or so from here. i was going for corn and watermelon; now I will be looking for peaches, too. All are among the delights of summer.

        • The watermelon is particularly good this year here in Your Nation’s Capital. And I had some good sweet Vidalia onions this week. Like eating candy.

  2. Klasie Kraalogies says

    Summer drink?

    This one I learnt from the French. Or the Provencal, to be exact: Pastis. Tall glass – ice, 1/3 pastis, 2/3 ice water. A good quality pastis is really exceptional.

    • Rick Ro. says

      Never heard of pastis. Just looked it up. Your concoction sounds good.

      • Klasie Kraalogies says

        Pastis is always drunk with water. The ratio differs from 20% to 50%. And not always ice.

    • Kasteel Donker which I got introduced to when I was in Amsterdam last year. They told me the Belgian beer was better than the German beer but I didn’t believe it.

  3. Ron Avra says

    This year has been good for peaches. I seem to have gotten better about picking good ones from the produce.

  4. My summer drink – Dark and Stormy.

    And what would summer be without fresh sweet corn on the cob? 🙂

    • Favorite summer drink? Other than beer…I make a gallon at a time of my secret recipe limeade ice tea.

      • Christiane says

        just how secret IS your recipe ? it sounds delicious

        my dear Aunt Yvonne grew mint in her garden and made the most delicious mint iced tea, so refreshing in the summer heat . . . . goodness I miss her dearly

  5. Susan Dumbrell says

    My peaches come in a can at present as it is Winter, very cold and frosty.
    Let’s have a break from the friction of yesterday and enjoy a sunny Saturday.
    Invite each other around for a pleasant conversation and favourite food and drinks.
    Can’t be that hard IMonkers, just try it.
    Blessings to all,

    • Susan Dumbrell says

      little taste or joy
      winter peaches from a can
      dream of summer fruits

      • Susan Dumbrell says

        Invite me over, I’ll be over on the next flight along with a number of Aussie IMonkers I would guess??
        Aussies we could get a discount for a bulk booking?? Worth a try.
        Anything to escape Winter here.
        More hot soup and knee rugs. grr!
        ps, get rid of Trump first please?

        • Welcome to come Susan, but you’ll have to suffer with the Tweetster like the rest of us. Misery loves company!

          • Susan Dumbrell says

            Not miserable today. I had a good health check yesterday so I will annoy you all for days/years to come.
            Enjoy your Summer Saturday.

            • Christiane says

              happy to hear you are better, Susan!

              I’m watching the most wonderful Australian drama series on Amazon prime: ‘A Place To Call Home’, and my husband, before his illnesses, always dreamed of visiting Australia . . . . . my father lived there for a time during WWI when he was stationed with the US Navy . . . . he had fond memories of the good people there 🙂

              • Christiane says

                oops, my father lived in Australia for a time during WWII

                • My dad was in South Australia for a couple of months during WWII and loved it. He was on a merchant freighter that had one of the engines fail (German-built Busch-Sulzer diesel, parts unavailable) and they had to hole up there, away from the Japanese, waiting for repairs. He loved it there and thought about naming my sister Adelaide, but Mom squelched the idea.

                  • Hmm… there’s a flaw in that story. Accordng to Wikipedia, Busch-Sulzer built engines in the USA too, and the company had contracts with the US navy right through the war. But maybe the engines on the freighter were built in Germany. That was always my understanding, hearing the story all my life, and it works better that way.

                    • Logistics for such things were a bit of an issue back then. Especially during WWII. Could have been that the paper work to ship the parts to Oz took a few months.

              • btw, Christiane, another good Aussie TV show is “Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries.” Set in the roaring ’20s, with a classy Miss Fisher solving everything the police detective can’t manage, which is pretty much everything. Of course, they’re trying not to fall in love with each other too, but that’s show biz. Netflix, I think.

                • Christiane says

                  thanks, TED

                  I’ve got Netflix and I’ll check it out! I’ve also signed up for Acorn, being a Brit mysteries fan. 🙂

            • We have a son, daughter-in-law, and 2 grandkids with a third on the way who live in a Sydney suburb. A few years ago we flew to tomorrow and stayed about a month. Drove up and down the Gold Coast. The ocean and beaches are beautiful. People are as good as any and better than some. It took me a while to get used to being woke up by those small, squawky parrots…

        • Robert F says

          Good morning, Susan, or good evening, as the case may be. Very nice haiku. You are always invited, and please bring your haiku with you.

          As you can see, Chaplain Mike has done his best to set up a Saturday brunch with fare that is likely to induce us all to play nice while you sleep. But now you’ve gone and mentioned the Unmentionable One, and who knows how it will all turn out? Thanks, Susan.(Insert Smiley Face HERE)

  6. Kind of Blue is iconic with a line-up of unbelievable musicians. Pat Metheny is amazing–love his work back in the early 80’s with Joni Mitchell and Jacko Pastorius.

  7. Robert F says

    fresh, local cabbage
    quartered and boiled until soft
    a peasants mainstay

    • Susan Dumbrell says

      Why do nursing homes smell over overboiled, reheated, leftover cabbage?
      Fair puts me off!
      Sorry Robert, I know those cabbages picked fresh from the home garden are of another breed.

      • Robert F says

        Susan, I love fresh cabbage, and Brussels sprouts too (do you have the latter Down Under)! Just call me farty pants.

      • I think people often tend to over-cook cabbage. Even when not over-cooked the cooking process releases sulfur from the sulfur bearing amino acids of the proteins.

        Boiled cabbage, Brussel sprouts, boiled okra, squash, fresh green beans…taste of summer.

  8. Susan Dumbrell says

    Vivaldi’s ‘Four Seasons’ – Summer ?

    I’ll leave you all on your own to play now.
    Behave yourselves.
    Goodnight all.

  9. Robert F says

    summer moves swiftly
    heat pushes the days forward
    autumn approaches

    • And after all these 4H days (Hazy Hot Humid Hell), autumn can’t get here fast enough. 😉

      • Ditto Eeyore. Worked outside the past week and I’m desiccated.

      • That Other Jean says

        Indeed. Autumn would be more than welcome. The thermostat’s been set on “broil” here for days.

        • Soaked with sweat another day
          All I can do inside myself
          Another night drinking water all I can
          Preparation for another day

          Waking every 2 hours anxiety worse with the wake
          Soon it will be here again and me older with the takes
          In the 2 am hours I sit to eat the fresh melon
          It will be the reminder of summer heats sharp talons

          Older I feel it with each day
          I bark at an old friend I need to stop
          The chest pains are in the way
          Mostly it’s just to hot

          The Autumn is not that far away
          Yet the bills of summer are not yet paid
          I need to work and get through each day
          May this shaking within me please be stayed

          Lord have mercy and thank you……. Can’t wait

  10. Andrew Zook says

    Food: watermelon and corn-on-the-cob
    Avocations: gardening and cricket (the game; besides the local Indian/Asian immigrants, as far as I know I’m the only ‘native’ teaching/organizing this game in our area)
    Family: cabin trip, swimming, fishing, fireworks (which everyone else loves, I endure)
    Church: not much different than other times except church camp-out

  11. On the other hand, an abundance of ticks here in Pennsylvania. My faithful Beagle and I are involuntary collectors. Such fun. I’m winning 21 to 8 so far this hiking year. Fortunately, there are lots of protective options for my dog. No long term damage from the little suckers for either of us so far.

  12. Summer??? What does that even mean? Where I am in Florida it is endless summer. It’s great for our tropicals, but it can get a bit monotonous at times. If we’re fortunate we get two seasons. Mild fall, winter, spring- that’s when we go camping. Hot summer- time for the beach. Summer proper- Star fruit and mangos, great for ice cold smoothies.

  13. Robert F says

    stargazer lily
    your blossom opened quickly
    then fell from its sky

  14. Burro [Mule] says

    A garota da Ipanema is still alive, and even at 72, could easily inspire another classic song.

  15. Dan from Georgia says

    Just as many Minnesotan’s (of where I am from), hunker down in the winter (or head south for the season), many Georgians hunker down in the summer (or retreat way up north).

    Kudo’s for the Pat Metheny mention. Awesome musician!

    Travels: heading up to Minnesota in August. Would like to drive up to Duluth and the North Shore (of Lake Superior).

    Music: always Trance on my playlist as Trance is a natural (for some) soundtrack to summer. Otherwise, my music tastes don’t change for the season.

    Reading: Not on your life while there is so much scenery and gorgeous surroundings to gaze upon!

    Activities: Watching thunderstorms, car drives, lounging around.

  16. I need to get some sweet corn. My childhood memories of summer include mounds of sweet corn on the cob on our dinner table, slathered in butter. It was the only time of year my mother used real butter for anything. She was a margarine kind of person.
    I need to look into getting more peaches. The rabbits ate the swiss chard in our garden down to the nubs and then started on the sweet peppers. The tomatoes are growing but not ripening. Thank goodness for farmer’s markets.

    Summer reading? I just finished The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks and, while not lite reading, it is a fascinating story. I highly recommend it if you have not read it. Right now, I’m deep into Chabon’s The Yiddish Policeman’s Union. It was off to a slow start, but is picking up speed and getting really interesting. It’s also forcing me to look up many Yiddish words. I am expanding my vocabulary!

  17. Way behind on getting my winter’s firewood cut and split and stacked for seasoning with time whizzing by. Making a real attempt to get my house in order a little at a time. Items on my bucket list before winter, standing on the two highest spots in lower Michigan within an hour, a day trip to Hartwick Pines State Park where the last remaining old growth pines in Michigan have been saved, and drinking a beer at the tavern in Idlewild which used to be the largest and most famous black resort area in the country before civil rights doomed it. Reading a book by Robert Wall on the incorporation into the canon of the catholic epistles (small “c”) as an antidote to the unbalanced misreading and misuse of Paul by various groups and which skirts on calling justification by faith alone by the Protestant Church a heresy of the same order. Getting ready to work on my library shelves while listening to Horace Silver Radio on Pandora. Grass is growing to beat the band this summer tho flowers are sparser, and my crossing across the swamps into the back woods has been running or muddy right on thru. No vacation for me but I do get days off as they come along. Thankful to be up and relatively able.

  18. Rick Ro. says

    Summer food: Sweet corn, and this year has had some of the best ever. I’ve not even had to butter or salt any of it this year.

    Summer drink: A cold Pilsner or Hefeweizen in a chilled glass after mowing the lawn.

    Summer activities: Tennis, swimming at a lake.

    Summer travels: Current travels…every August to Cannon Beach, OR, for a week-long conference at the Cannon Beach Christian Conference Center. Great fun, great people.

    Childhood travels…when we lived in New Orleans my family would sometimes travel to Callaway Gardens, GA. GREAT memories. The place was loaded with hiking trails, biking trails, huge swimming pool, actors from the local college would put on plays, and at the time they had a movie screen, which is when I fell in love with Clint Eastwood’s spaghetti Westerns (for some reason, my dad took me to “For a Few Dollars More” when it was playing there).

    (looking at that site now…Wow, a lot has changed!)

    Summer reading: Currently reading a fantasy series which I would call ho-hum at the moment, otherwise I’d give you the title and recommend it.

    Summer music: Old favorites, because of the vibe they provide, would be Sly and the Family Stone, the Doobie Brothers. More recently (not that recent anymore…LOL) is R.E.M.’s “Reveal”. Love that album for its summery vibe.

  19. Not sure where that harbor photo is from, but pretty sure I just spent the week near there.

    Rent a house every year in the North Shore outside of Boston–great place for the family to connect, eat great food, drink a lot, sit in the sun.

    I buy everyone a book of their choosing for ‘beach’ reading and they love it.

    My summer reading list is to re read my favs: lucifer’s hammer, Dracula, into thin air, the scarlet pimpernel, are a few.

  20. Courtesy of US Army a lifetime ago, I spent the better part of two years in the Panama Canal Zone, land of endless summers. I loved the heat & humidity then as I do now for the best reasons 1)don’t shovel it 2)don’t slip, slide, and crash in it, and 3)women wear less clothes. Does my heart good on all 3 counts.

    • From one of my favorite folk singers, John Gorka:

      One combination still impresses
      Women, wind and summer dresses

      • Lightning’s Blues

    • Rather feel the bite and sting of the winter wind on my hands and cheeks. Love the feeling. Shoveled snow in a blizzard with a tee shirt on and actually sweated. No gloves on and loving every minute of it. i can put enough clothes on but can never take enough off. Should have been been born closer to north pole then central Pa. Here it is as bad as Florida maybe even worse some days depending where you live. Frankly my father died on one of the hottest days here. 22 years ago I even at that young age quit early.

  21. Really not bothered about summer. But springtime – when the Jersey Royals* are fresh from the fields, and the local asparagus comes into its brief but enjoyable season, and the wild flowers are out in the hedgerows – is another story altogether.

    * for the uninitiated, Jersey Royals are the world’s best potato, bar none

  22. Dana Ames says

    Out of town over the weekend, back now and checking in.

    Favorite food: raspberries, raspberries, raspberries! Can’t get enough of them when really fresh. Love the corn too. When I was a child my mother used to make “wilted lettuce” – simple salad with bacon and hot bacon dripping+vinegar dressing – a lot during the summer, often with lettuce from our garden. I can’t get down on the ground anymore, so I have a container garden of flowers on the front porch while I wait for my husband to build me a waist-high box garden for salad greens. Our area has The Perfect Climate for growing tomatoes. Maybe I’ll put some in next year – always accompanied by marigolds to keep the tomato worms away.

    No particular favorite music; there are some things I like to listen to only in winter, but not so much the summer.

    Favorite drink: ice cold spring water. It’s not humid where I am, but the thermometer gets above 100ºF several times during the summer months, and most of the rest of the time is in the low 90s. I don’t do well in the heat and so stay indoors with the evaporative cooler during the hot part of the day. Thankfully, it cools down to the 50s at night because of the ocean influence.

    Favorite place: the Pacific Ocean towns and beaches only 90 minutes from my house. I grew up in one, and I love the foggy days as well as the sunny ones..

    Favorite childhood memory: being allowed to stay up late when I lived in Montana, where twilight begins about 9:00 and the sun isn’t all the way down until after 10:30. Many good memories of going to my aunt & uncle’s house at the edge of town for barbeque and pie, enjoying time with my teenage cousins and watching all the different kinds of moths flutter around the back porch light.


  23. Front porch? Our is barely large enough for two plastic chairs and a side table to set a drink on. But after a 106 degree day, or even one in the 90s, you would not want to sit there as the decorative used bricks radiate yet more heat toward you. Maybe first thing in the morning, when I feed the neighborhood stray cats it might be comfortable. Still, most people drive away to jobs so it wouldn’t help. I used to think how my mom made friends with her neighbors in the 60s over the back fence while hanging laundry, but the world has changed. I like to hang sheets, but there is no one around.

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