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Delaney: Summer Evenings

07/30/12 5:55PM By Dennis Delaney
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(Host) Commentator Dennis Delaney is a former Republican State Senator, so you might expect he'd favor politics as the main topic of conversation at social gatherings. But instead, he says that talking about bugs and poison oak can make for a great summer's evening.

(Delaney) If summer evenings exist in heaven, surely they can't be any better than those we're enjoying this year in Vermont: Mostly moderate temperatures; a frequent bouquet of freshly mown hay or wildflowers; just enough rain to keep things green; and my favorite mid-summer passions of just picked vegetables and berries. Of course, if you're in the right spot and downwind, the bracing smell of manure reminds Vermonter and flatlander alike that cows produce more than milk! And wrapped around it all is the wish that it all didn't have to disappear so soon.

Now, if you marry those gifts of summer with cold beer and chips on a patio, in the company of those graced with the easy banter of neighbors, you have discovered the recipe for at least a slice of the good life, Vermont style.

And if all that doesn't exist in heaven, then I'm just not going.

This realization caught me by happy surprise one evening recently when a neighbor from my town of Charlotte - everyone in a small town is a neighbor - invited a group of colleagues from a local committee for some socializing on a summer night.

Given that the omnipresent media are so obsessed these days with politics and the election-year posturing of politicians - scamps every one of them - I rather expected that politics would chase away any other subject of conversation. And I dreaded it. On that very day the Supreme Court had come down from its mountain and overwhelmed us with its thoughts about Affordable Health Care. The earth had trembled! And now I was braced for the night's gathering - and some heavy intellectual slogging through the beer and chips.

But to my surprise and relief, like lady Macbeth's "Out damn spot" the woes of the world were banished from the get-together. It was nothing we'd agreed to beforehand. It just happened.

First, the subject of summer "bugs" drew insights from the locals; then spontaneously conversation moved on to invasive plant species in our beloved Lake Champlain, just a few hundred meters away; after which came warnings mingled with chuckles, about the curse of catching poison oak and how sorry you'll be if you get it.

I don't know why bugs, bad plants and poison oak seemed more important that night than who would be elected leader of the free world, but I'm glad the evening went as it did.

It reminded me of a tune I used to like in my younger days. The words went something like this: "I fell in with some very bad people and I had a really good time". Today I might change that a little to: "I fell in with some down to earth people and I had a really good time".
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