The Coast News Group
The author really does love summer. Photo by Chris Ahrens

May Gray, June Gloom and other summertime blues

On Memorial Day we recall those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom while we take the day off for our favorite pastimes, which in the case of many of us is surfing.

We got a break from the drizzle this year, but the onshore winds still managed to turn the morning lineup into cream of mush as we sheltered in place to recount Memorial Days past when we sat huddled in the fog waiting for the winds to stop or reverse and clean up the surf.

I recall last year when someone spouted the global warming theory and someone else responded that global warming was a left-wing conspiracy.

It’s obvious that neither party had sufficient evidence to back up the stance they firmly refused to back away from, but since honest debate is is so last century, they settled it the way everyone settles differences in these enlightened times — by shouting insults at each other.

In this case it was a surfer’s No. 1 bad name, “kook.”  This was followed by them shaking their heads and returning to their separate corners to pout in the sand.

Deciding to let them battle out the unsettled pseudo-science, I paddled out into what is familiar territory to me — bad surf.

All the smart people had returned to shore for hotdogs and the beer they attempted to conceal from the lifeguards in plastic cups or soda cans.

Someone commented on this being signs of a police state, and someone else gladly picked up the gauntlet by saying that the lifeguards were only doing their jobs.

When the conversation drifted into gun violence, there were, ironically, veiled threats to anyone who agreed or disagreed that guns were bad.

May gray might just give way to June gloom and will, no doubt, be followed by… (Quick, what rhymes with July, August, and September — anyone?)

I anticipate that later this year the water will warm up, the kelp will die off and migrate to the beach to serve as a feast for flies and “stank bankers.”

The asphalt will burn our feet as red tide moves in along with jellyfish, stingrays, and tourists. Parking spaces that cost as much as a hotel used to will be nonexistent by 10 a.m., people I’ve never seen will tell me via body language they think I’m a kook or an inlander, both of which I would gladly confess to if confronted head on.

I will paddle out, catch a few dribbling waves, and be forced to straighten out as some kid is pushed into a wave by his coach in front of me.

Geez, I’m getting cranky in my old age! I mean, really, who complains about summer but crotchety old men, albinos and carney workers?

I’m no albino or carney worker so I must be… No, I refuse to treat summer like some dust bowl Okie pining over a dead mule.

So, back off all you kooks, hodads, posers, wannabes and rippers. I am about to join you in what we alone can make the summer of our lives.

Love. Thanks. Blessings. Amen.


I am sad to report the passing of two good friends, Bob Envall and Kenny Clemens. These irreplaceable characters will be missed in every lineup they ever rode. Aloha, dear brothers.