A couple of the best things about summer is that the water is not hard enough to walk on and that the best star in the universe, the sun, is out in all its glory. This allows those without fear of melanoma and skin so sensitive that a cold shower hurts to walk about in near Brazil-like clothing. Summer is finally here in the north, where people actually suffer when the heat goes over 15 degrees Celsius, and church-goers swear that hell is nearing when it hits 25. I, however, frantically rub my hands in sweaty glee, yes, it is bikini time again!

Some things that are taken for granted in the sultry south is the fact that the water temperature is actually near half way body temp, while up here, only a polar bear could enjoy a cardiac-arresting dip in slightly above zero waters. I can still see ice out there, although barely, but we know they are still out there, lurking and waiting in miniature titanic bergs, just waiting for the unfortunate high-speed canoe to bump them out of the way.

I happen to have a fear of drowning, but for some odd reason, I never wear a lifejacket. Nor have I ever learned how to gracefully swim about like a seal or like some other people who have the knack of not panicking when water snorts up the snorkel or makes your nose choke up with watered-down snot and cause the type of frenzy that sharks just love. I seem to rather ungainly walk about the bottom like some old fashioned head-bucketed deep-sea diver, causing the murky muddy bottom to stir up and cause all kinds of environmental concerns from the Arctic sea to the Bermuda Triangle (I am probably the cause for the el Nino of the North).

Summer is the time when cold iced tea battles for first place with the frosty mug o’beer and tan lines disappear into one solid cocoa colour, when mosquitoes cannot fly because the moisture in the atmosphere weighs down their buzzing wings until gravity becomes our partner for once, allowing sweat to flow freely downwards into pools that collect in the small of our backs (and other nooks and crannies), making our life just a bit more uncomfortable.

A cool swimming pool or the nearest body of water becomes the haven that many seek in this type of summer weather. Favourite watering holes become the night life for those over 18 (in Quebec at least), creating zombielike creatures that wander the early dawn and empty streets, quickly dodging out of sight from the boys and girls in blue. While the ordinary folks create man-made waves in man-made pools, the extraordinary ones dance with sharks in the aqua blue waters south of the American border. In a way I’m glad that the only thing to fear in these waters is the occasional Orca that roams these bays, although I never heard of someone actually seeing one.

Speaking of sharks, I once had the pleasure of playing a game of pool against the great Willie from Maniwaki. With measured precision, Willie quickly sunk nearly every ball, whilst I, on the other hand, had to pleasure of hitting the cue ball once or twice. Yet, to my amazement, I won the game because he scratched. Dishonorable as it is, I did win, as Willie was the pool champion of Val d’Or. The bet was that the other to shout out the winner’s name at the top of his lungs, and that he is the best pool player in Abitibi. Sadly, Willy never challenged me again to regain his rightful title, there forever after, keeping me at the top of the billiards food chain.

Lastly, I apologize to Glen Poison for calling him Gordon in the last issue of the Nation, as at the time as I was writing the name Gordon spilled into my thoughts and spoiled forever my infallible memory. Sorry Glen, but I think it had something to do with closing time.