Summer on the Water.


Summer is nearly here.
Around these parts, the season is brief, like a terminal illness.

After two consecutive winters which challenged even the 80 year old farmers’ conviction that they and all their growing things would make it through, actually seeing the first blooms has become almost surreal.
And, the prettier everything gets, the more frantic people scramble to fit in:

  • flower and vegetable gardens;
  • bathing suits and beach picnics;
  • sailboating, jet-skiing, and yacht cruising;
  • evening music, on the verandas of select restaurants;
  • Chautauqua Institution, a gated Victorian intellectual community complete with its own symphony*, populated by wealthy New Yorkers and assorted academics, professional actors, dancers, musicians, artists, and students attending their summer long music camp ( *like Blossom, only just 35 minutes away);
  • “8 Great Tuesdays” – live concerts, on the open stage at lake’s edge;
  • The Rib Fest, a local restaurant competition in the town square;
  • Memorial Day Parade;
  • Zoo Parade;
  • “Celebrate Erie!”, the biggest festival featuring a major headliner;
  • three (3!) County Fairs;
  • July 4th Parade, plus fireworks on the bay;
  • “We Love Erie Days” Arts Festival;
  • Erie Art Museum’s Jazz and Blues Fest, featuring local and imported world class ensembles;
  • ethnic food fests: Greek/German/Italian/Polish/Russian/Amerimasala;
  • Annual Athletic Triathlon;
  • 26 mile Marathon, around the peninsula of Presque Isle State Park;
  • biking, hiking, and camping at Presque Isle;
  • Erie Seawolves, professional baseball games twice a week;
  • playing outside with the grandchildren; attending Little League games;
  • family birthday parties;
  • “Roar on the Shore” (Harleys, by the thousands, from all across the country);
  • Junior Drum and Bugle Corps National Championships;
  • Labor Day parade, and fireworks;
  • Bemus Bay Pops /pick up orchestra on the floating stage, Chautauqua Lake, featuring a major headliner;
  • “Heritage Days” – regional vendors, the Erie Philharmonic’s “1812 Overture” concert complete with Civil War Re-enactors’ 21 guns and cannons……..and, it’s over.


It’s true. I’ve become so sensitive to the brevity of the season. But, in my case, there are reminders.

After all, Mom was diagnosed as inoperable on Father’s Day, and by August 4th she was gone.
Dad got pneumonia in late March, and by April 9th, he was gone.

Yet, while warming weather makes the scent of demise rise for this girl, I am really feeling the urge.

Not to die.

To live.


So, defy gravity!

Head north, or east, or west, to Erie’s Great Lake.

Celebrate living  – with those of us who see the end from the beginning.






© Ruth Ann Scanzillo


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