We Need Summer Snacks and Naps

I am blessed to have learned a lot from my parents and grandparents but some of those lessons stand out. The one I really like is that when you retire and it's summer, you can eat more snacks than meals and you get to nap whenever it suits you. Of course this is was an example set by old folks so it must be a true fact. My grandpa always felt bad when they shut the woods down because he knew his friends couldn't make any money logging. After he finally retired he learned quickly to spend hot summer days listening to baseball and reading books about the old west. Yes, there was an oscillating fan nearby. Grandma made white bread sandwiches for dinner and worked in her garden. It was too hot to cook.

OK, you may have come from a different kind of family... but it's never too late to change. I already know that the hardest work ever done by members of my family had to do with harvest. No one was left out of that job... unless they couldn't stand up. I am thankful for their legacy but hope they don't know that just a few generations can create a group of aging snackers and nappers.

After consultations with Mother Nature and the Portland Weather Guys, I've decided that we're going to have a very hot and dry summer. The combination of these things means that we'll have to hunker down and stay cool. This is not the kind of cool we used to be. This literally means that we have to keep from getting too (thermometer) hot because it will hurt our fragile old bodies. Acting 'cool' will not help in these circumstances. I know some of you will try this anyway because being old doesn't mean that you can't be downright silly. Too bad our brains don't get smarter as we age to perfection. Snacking and napping are natural to the aging human... just let it happen. Look up the word Zen.

Heat is good but when we get too much it tends to hurt some of the things we love the most. You'll need to take extra care with elderly family members. If you wonder why I mention this, it is because many of us are sharing our lives with our parents or grandparents in one way or another.

Most elder family members are likely to end up in a care home at some point. If you are a thoughtful human being, you'll understand that you're next. That's the way life works. Seems to me that when seasons change we tend to think more about these things. We probably make better decisions, too. With this understanding of your future, you might want to visit those folks more often or bring them over for dinner. We used to bring my grandma here when the blackberries were ripe. Nick would trim off branches and grandma sat at the picnic table and picked the berries. Her level of happiness could not be measured and we would get a pie.

She also had a master's degree in snacking and napping. She weighed about 95 pounds and could eat enough snacks to keep a 7-11 in business. Her naps lasted between two and twenty minutes and she always pretended that she hadn't stopped being part of the conversation when she woke up. This is an art form. It takes a lot of practice so start now.

All of you of a certain age (anything 70 and over) are special now. You qualify for the group that will be more vulnerable to heat related problems. If you are advised to stay indoors and drink plenty of fluids... please do so. Oh, and the aforementioned fluids are not beer. Alcohol leads to peeing which leads to dehydration. Sorry to be so blunt but some of you still won't get it. Drinks with umbrellas in them are also in this category even when you are in the shade next to a pool. Snacks have salt and we've already been nagged to tears about that…but they taste so good and as mentioned earlier, it's too hot to cook. Naps? You can't go wrong there as long as you are not outdoors.

More practical members of our tribe will be out babysitting their plants and tending the garden. Sorry, but on those days when the outdoor temperature skyrockets, you'll have to set your alarm and water at 4am. Why? Because if you wait until the sun comes up you'll be out there pulling weeds, watering and fussing until you are dehydrated AND sunburned. Where is the good in that? Yes, I know this is going to hurt because I'm a plant parent too. This year we will have to take care of ONLY the most favorite of our plants. Why? There will be a water shortage and you may be able to at least help prolong the time it takes to get there.

I know you people too well. You'll read this while you are eating pretzels and drinking beer. Then you'll laugh and say, "What the heck does she know?" Have a good week Geezers. :)

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