Summer technically starts June 21, it unofficially starts on Memorial Day, but the actual start is the day I hear my second-most dreaded question: "So, any big summer plans?"
You see, my wife's job is such that summer is her busy season, so in prime vacation season I stay put. Sure, we travel plenty in the non-summer months: a quick spring jaunt here, a little autumn getaway there, and, of course, each winter we fly out to our place in the Yukon (lesson learned; when you buy a time share, be sure to read the brochure!) But when you all are out at the beach or at the dairy bar or the pool, I'm. . . not. And that's why, when asked if I have "any big summer plans?" by friends and neighbors, I stifle a sob, look toward the ground and mumble something about "a petition drive calling for a gritty, post-apocalyptic remake of 'Jingle All the Way.' " To which people always reply, "Why would you want a gritty remake of a holiday movie for kids starring Sinbad and Arnold Schwarzenegger?" Which is my most dreaded question.
Yes, summer is a cruel, cruel season, for me - and, of course, for the '80s pop band Bananarama (though probably not for the same reason). But that's not to say you shouldn't enjoy the season to its utmost. In fact, I've planned out a whole summer's worth of fun for you. All of you. Pack a sack lunch, a little sunscreen and a copy of Leonard Nimoy's memoir I Am Spock (you never know when you'll need one) because it's time for summer, Awesomenator-style!
For June, I'd like to bring you a little theater in the park. A very little theater, in fact, since I just thought this idea up three days ago and thus didn't have time to put a full production together. I could only manage to hire a handful of students who are repeating English class over the summer to do an unstaged dramatic reading of A Streetcar Named Desire. Actually, if last night's rehearsal is any indication, this will end up being an unstaged dramatic skimming: "I have always depended on the kindest of strangers. Er, kindness, I mean. Whatever. This play's weird."
To make July even more exciting, I'd like everyone in town to gather at the State House lawn each Saturday, just before the farmers' market starts, for a city-wide singalong of "Hey Jude." We'll sing the melody lines together, and our dogs can take the high harmonies. It's a tribute to one of my favorite canine bands of all time, the Beatle Barkers. Interesting sidenote: Their lead singer was going to form a supergroup called Crosby, Stills, Nash and Rover, but they ended up hiring Neil Young instead because Neil was a better guitar player, and because he was housebroken.
We'll wrap up August and summer with my grandest idea yet - the Running of the Matlocks! Move over, bulls of Pamplona, the people of Concord are going to slowly shuffle through downtown dressed in crisp light grey suits and Andy Griffith wigs, solving mysteries with homespun wisdom and Dixieland tunes. And each of our Matlocks will run a gauntlet of guest stars, including former Batman star Adam West! Well, technically he told me "stop calling this number or I'll report you" but that wasn't a "no."
There you have it, Concord: a summer you'll never forget. As for me, I have to plan my fall vacation: I'm hoping to visit Bozeman, Mont., to see the Museum of Hard-Boiled Eggs Shaped Like the Rat Pack - you have to book early to see the Sinatra egg, you see.