Monday, May 26, 2008

Summer in Philly...

… is about being a lover not a fighter.
A midnight mover.
But that’s hardly all it is.

Summer in Philly is cherry water ice at Rita’s.
And Paper Street mojito parties.
The first whiff of salt air when you hit Somers Point.
That first icy draft at Fred’s in Stone Harbor after coming off the beach.

Summer in Philly is Sonny Hill League hoops at Temple.
And Pat Burrell keeping that sweet swing going all season.
It’s walking like Brando right into the sun.
And knowing that when push comes to shove, there ain’t no mountain high enough, no valley low enough, no river wide enough.
It’s hearing Snoop crooning from an open car window on a lazy, hazy afternoon on Chestnut Street.
Sipping lemon drops at Positano Coast after a movie at the Ritz.
Discovering the natural beauty that lies beneath the Walnut Lane Bridge.

Summer in Philly is catching Sharon Jones at the Roots picnic in June.
Neil Diamond with your Aunt Betty at the Wachovia in August.
Dr. Dog at Johnny Brenda’s.
Modest Mouse at the Mann.

In summer, wrote William Carlos Williams, the song sings itself.
It’s Will Smith and Jazzy Jeff on a boombox at Belmont Plateau.
The King singing “Heartbreak Hotel” from a Wawa speaker.
The Boss telling how they blew up the chicken man in Philly last night on a taproom juke.
Summer in Philly is getting a last-minute invite to Nantucket.
Knowing you’d happily settle for Wildwood Crest.

Summer in Philly is shutting off the computer for the day at 5 …
… taking time to read Tree of Smoke and Steve Lopez’s The Soloist …
… and allowing yourself time to peruse The New York Times.
In print.
It’s staying up late watching Craig Ferguson or SportsCenter with a tall iced tea.
Exploring On Demand until you land on those nutty people who want dates.
It’s picking up the phone and talking to that friend you keep up with via text only.
And getting back in touch with the mentor who kept you sane through school.

Summer in Philly is nights cool enough to throw the windows open to hear Lee Morgan wafting in from the speakers next door.
It’s Sid Mark spinning Sinatra’s “Summer Wind.”
The Eagles at Lehigh.
And listening to the softball dudes at the bar replay their game inning by inning.

Summer in Philly is jumping in your ride at the last minute for a Riversharks game in the shadow of the Ben Franklin.
Playing H-O-R-S-E at a rec center.
Blowing town for Lancaster on a Saturday morning to absorb the wondrous peace of the Amish.
Grabbing a back pew at S.S. Pete and Paul on a blazing weekday afternoon just to cool off.
It’s an early evening pizza at Marra’s.
A twilight Corona at El Vez.
A soulful late-night jazz set at Chris’.

Summer in Philly is running into people who make you feel free.
Willa Rohrer. Lauren McCutcheon.
Jane Golden. Zack Stalberg. Liz Spikol.
Solomon Jones. Meryl Levitz.

Summer in Philly is rolling into the seventh with Harry Kalas calling the game and still missing Whitey.
It’s talking about the coming new world order with a parking lot attendant, a fruit stand vendor, a Schuylkill River fisherman.
It’s listening to a soft late-night rain and recalling Langston Hughes’ advice to let it sing you a lullaby.
It’s women who sing when they walk.
It’s looking around Walnut Street on a muggy August afternoon and realizing you might be the last person on the planet.
But also knowing where to find the most secret roads in the countryside to escape the oppressive heat.

Summer in Philly makes you want to hose down the elephants at the Zoo.
Get your picture taken on an Ocean City lifeguard stand.
Take a turn at double-dutch.
Do your J-Roll batting impression.

Summer in Philly is knowing exactly when you’ll hit shore traffic on the Expressway, how to get to the beach via the Black Horse Pike and where to find a Kohr’s frozen custard when you get there.

In the end, though, summer in Philly is about how you move through the stillness.
By being a lover not a fighter.
A midnight mover.
Always maintaining the most serious of cools. [Philadelphia Weekly]

Let it begin. Happy Summer.

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