Summer arrives: Do druids drink gin-and-tonics?

Dark and mysterious Stonehenge…Where I won’t be as the summer solstice arrives. On the other hand, I bet the druids won’t be cooling off on this first sweltering night of official summer with a nice tall gin-and-tonic (with lime).

If I happened to be a druid, I suppose I’d be at Stonehenge, dancing and cavorting and chanting and just generally carrying on and making a happy ruckus as the sun set and rose over those magnificent and mysterious stones right at the moment when spring gives way to summer.

But I’m not a druid — and I’m not anywhere near Stonehenge — so I suppose today and tomorrow will be spent somewhere in the swamps of Jersey in hot pursuit of coolness and cold…as temperatures approach 100 degrees for the first time this year, just in time for the solstice and summer.

We’re talking gin-and-tonics (with lime) after dark on the porch. We’re talking not much more exertion than what’s required to turn on the air-conditioner and maybe turn the pages of whatever book we’re reading, which probably should be something like “The Iceman Cometh,”  or to turn on the DVD player to watch a movie, which probably should not be something like “In the Heat of the Night.”

Speaking of druids and mysterious stones, I made my way a few days ago to Ringing Rocks State Park in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. There they were– not moved since that last time I was there, about fifteen years ago: an amazing field of large boulders covering at least a couple of acres. The boulders were deposited there, geologists say, by the leading edge of an ancient glacier.

Stone-cold truth: These boulders at Ringing Rocks in Upper Black Eddy, Pa., have been there ever since a glacier left them there millions of years ago,

I remember hearing through the years about strange nighttime gatherings at Ringing Rocks,  and I have vague memory of a big New Age gathering happening there a few years back when there was a lot of hoo-hah and ballyhoo over some cosmic event called the Harmonic Convergence.

More recently, the boulders were still an impressive sight and a great source of amusing, overheard comments from others who’d come to swing a hammer at the rocks to hear their unusual chime-like ring:

“I’ve never seen so many rocks!”

“Man, this would be a great place to come and get stoned!”

“Yeah. Or to have a ROCK concert!”

“This place ROCKS!”

You get the idea. I guess it’s Stone Age, Stonehenge, stoner humor.

One thing about heat. It’s made for some great music. Here are four of my favorite summertime songs by (in order) Sly Stone, Carole King, the Rascals and Bruce Springsteen:

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The great debates

Most people would think of the Kennedy-Nixon televised debates in 1960 or maybe even the series of debates between Lincoln and Douglas or maybe the debate I remember among my Yonkers friends over which band was cooler — the Beatles or the Rascals.

But the great debate I refer to is taking place in an online forum hosted by an online publication called the Yonkers Tribune, which posted my “City of Gracious Living” essay and stirred up lots of back-and-forth about the demise of the city’s old downtown and about Yonkers politics and politicians.

Check it out. The link is:

 http://yonkerstribune.typepad.com/yonkers_tribune/2008/07/city-of-graciou.html

I should note that the essay itself, which I posted in an earlier blog entry, is really a personal, sort of stream-of-consciousness trek (sort of like young Bob Dylan’s “smoke rings of my mind”) through my memories of growing up in the city, my impressions of the city past and present, my knowledge of the city’s colorful history, and the true story of my mother’s uncle, Thomas Crooks, a young man who “fell” into a vat of acid while working at the old Alexander Smith carpet factory in the 1920s — Thomas, according to the city’s late, great daily newspaper the Yonkers Herald Statesman, had a premonition of his own death just before he died. Read the essay again with that in mind — the parts about young Thomas Crooks are just as true as the fact that Son of Sam and Gene Krupa and Linda Lovelace all lived in Yonkers.

The Rascals, greatest band ever produced by the New York-New Jersey suburbs.
The Rascals, greatest band ever produced by the New York-New Jersey suburbs.

As for the great debates I mentioned earlier, I’d say Nixon lost to Kennedy, Douglas lost to Lincoln and the Rascals lost to the Beatles but put up a damned good fight with songs like “Groovin’,” “People Got to be Free,” “Good Lovin’ ” and “How Can I Be Sure?”