What I Did on My Summer Vacationposted by Kate Good on 09/25/11 at 09:52 PM
Every summer, when my brother-in-law Rob and I sit down to husk corn, a job neither of us quite enjoys, we entertain ourselves by compiling Top Five lists. Top five foods, top five places we never want to visit, top five favorite actors. Well, you get the idea.
The idea isn’t original to us. We took it from High Fidelity, the mid-90’s novel about three characters who come up with lists of the Top Five songs for every possible occasion in order to pass the days at their struggling record store. Over time, Rob and I’ve found that these lists are both entertaining and rather challenging. In other words, a great way to pass time.
In honor of Rob, a wonderful summer that slipped away too quickly, and those crazy reports my teachers used to require us to write at the beginning of a new school year, here is my list of the Top Five Best Things from This Summer (in no particular order).
1. The Chesapeake Bay:
On my list of Top 5 favorite places, the Chesapeake Bay always has a slot. Every summer, when I was a kid, my extended family met for a weekend at a sprawling retreat center on the Chesapeake Bay. Eventually we outgrew the space and moved to a camp far away from the Bay. But I still miss it.
This year, determined to start my own Bay tradition, I traveled with a friend to St. Michaels, a historic village on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. For a few days, we sat on piers swinging our feet in the gentle waters, glided around town on ancient bikes, read piles of books, and ate ice cream cones after almost every meal. I felt like a kid all over again. It was a perfect trip, hopefully the first of many.
2. Grape tomatoes:
On my Top 5 list of summer fruits and vegetables, tomatoes rank high. Normally I choose a meaty and earthy beefsteak or heirloom tomato from a local farm stand, but this summer I discovered the tangy pop of grape tomatoes.
Grape tomatoes were always, in my opinion, just an anemic, bland little staple on a restaurant salad bar. But for the first time this year, I discovered the tart, but almost sweet flavor of in-season grape tomatoes. I like to munch on these little suckers by the handful. They are also delicious pan-roasted with a bit of olive oil, fresh basil and rosemary, a touch of garlic, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper. Remove this combination from the heat just before the tomatoes burst and toss it with perfectly al dente pasta. Delicious.
3. Summer movies:
I love a good old-fashioned, straight up action movie. But this summer’s selection was heavy on transformers, vampires, and comic book heroes. Boring. That’s why I rushed out to see Fast Five, the fifth and latest installment in the Fast and Furious franchise. Sure it’s mostly car chases and explosions with very little dialogue, but on a steamy summer Saturday afternoon, that’s what I crave, and this movie delivered. I had a hard time driving the speed limit the on the way home after this thrill ride.
Fast Five comes out on DVD early next month. Check it out if you need a little excitement some Saturday afternoon.
4. My book club:
Some people joined soccer teams this summer; I joined a book club (yep, I’m a big dork). For years, I’ve wanted to find a book club, but for various reasons, it’s never happened. Finally this summer, the stars aligned and I found my way into a group of smart, funny, interesting women with fantastic taste in books. So far we’ve read Ender’s Game, The Help, and The Tiger’s Wife, an excellently eclectic group of books.
5. Summer television:
Worried that you missed your opportunity to watch White Collar, Suits, or Burn Notice? Don’t. These three shows and several more return in November.
Whew, I actually narrowed it down to five truly great parts of my summer. Tune in next month for my Top Five Fall Favorites. And tell me, what were your Top Five moments this summer?
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