Doing Something Right: Summertime Edition

Summer has arrived in full force. A little belated but North Idaho has seen gradual warming since Father's Day and last Friday was the first time we reached 100 degrees this year. The sun is out and will be lingering for a while. For some people, summertime weather means beaches and boats, hiking the mountains or floating the river, sunburns and tan lines, summer camps, bonfires, volleyball, frisbee golf, cliff diving, baseball games, and backyard barbecues.

Not me, though.

Sure, my family participates in many of those typical summer activities. My oldest has earned himself sunburns on two consecutive Fridays and is slowly learning the value of sunscreen. My youngest has played his first two baseball games of the season and I took the kids out to watch the Spokane Indians last week. We will partake in opportunities for swimming and hiking and grilled foods. However, those activities and experiences don't make my summer summer.

For me, there is only one thing that makes this season feel truly summer-like. A soundtrack.

There are certain songs that should only be played between Memorial Day and Labor Day. There is music that makes you feel like you belong where the waves crash along the shore. There is a particular collection of tunes that dance and in hand with inflatable pool toys and roasted marshmallows. Whole genres that beg to be played during the summer months. Reggae. Ska. Salsa.

Or maybe I am just weird. Which is always a possibility. However, summer just isn't summer until I hear a couple specific songs.

This year, with a new car (I named it Emrys, BTW) that has an excellent sound system, I needed some cruising music. So, I did what I have enjoyed doing since I was a teen growing up in the 90's. I did what I was once paid to do in my former job as a DJ. I created a mix of songs for the occasion. It has been playing in my car for the last three weeks with a few breaks to listen to Spanish lessons with the kids.

My munchkins are growing more familiar with the music I selected. After listening through the full playlist a couple times, each of my three kids have picked out the songs they like best. One day, about an hour into the mix, Zu had a question for me.

"Where's the Fresh Prince?" She asked.

DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince's classic summer jam 'Summertime' is the second track in my playlist. It is one of those songs that I must hear before I can accept that this hot weather is valid and acceptable. It is one of those songs I believe is best played while driving around with the windows down and volume up. And that song is the one my daughter wants to hear the most.

This is how I know I'm doing something right. My daughter, like most girls her age, wants to listen to Justin Bieber or Ariana Grande or Shawn Mendes. Yet she has an appreciation for old-school Will Smith. She will belt out the lyrics when Corinne Bailey Rae plays. I will catch her singing along with some obscure artists like Ozomatli or The Sundays, bands I know she would never be exposed to without having a father like me. It makes me smile every time.

Because serious musical conversations with others is one of my favorite things, I'm sharing my summer playlist with you. These are the songs that define summer for me. Enjoy.

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