Summer afternoon

An afternoon cookout with friends in northern California, June 2004

An afternoon cookout with friends in northern California, June 2004

“Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.”Henry James

Though summer has never been my favorite season, I can understand why the words “summer afternoon” are beautiful, especially for someone who lives in a cooler climate than the one where I grew up.  Summer coaxes us outdoors for games, cookouts, conversation — all sorts of things that bring people together just for fun.

Several blog readers may recognize someone they know — maybe even themselves!– in the photo above.  Trivia question for those who don’t know any of the people pictured: can you guess which two people, newly met in this photo, ended up getting married to each other?  (All giveaway clues will be censored from comments, so no cheating!)

Here’s hoping you will be able to get out a few more times this summer, and cook up some fun!


  1. THE gal in the jeaNS And the guy w/the guitar? perdon, the keyboard’s nuts tonight!

    • Z, you are among many who made that guess, which is logical, but incorrect. Hope your computer is doing well! 🙂 With repair prices such as you mentioned on your blog, Ecuador may be the next Silicon Valley! Thanks for being here!

  2. I’ll play. I am not an F.B.I. profiler, but the guitar player is younger than the other guests; and the lady of similar age to his left seems very attentive. So I say they ended up getting hitched. (If not that couple, then that guy in the white T-shirt, sticking something into the fire, married the red sweater to his right.)

    • Eric, you are among many who guessed that the brother and sister were actually the couple-to-be. Actually they were very newly moved to our area and didn’t know anyone else very well at that time, so that’s one reason they sat together, I am guessing. Cheryl, are you reading these comments? If so, I hope this is fun for the mother of the bride!!! The girl next to her guitar-playing brother is the bride, as I’ve pointed out before. The guy in the white shirt you refer to (ha-ha) actually married someone OLDER than he, not younger, and she likes to take photos, so she’s not in the photo!

      • Thanks for ‘getting’ my joke. (I even noticed the tiny U.S. Air Force symbol on that white T-shirt. That camera has pretty good resolution.)

        • Yes, and it was a relatively inexpensive little compact Nikon Cool Pix that got about 2 or 3 MP – nothing compared to the ones sold for even less money today. The advances in photography have been amazing.

  3. Ann

    Is that Megan in the sweatshirt watching Drew playing guitar? Is that Jeff helping Matt toast a marshmallow?. Thanks for sharing your family with us.


    • Hi Ann, Megan is nowhere in this photo. This was taken long before she and Drew were dating, although they knew each other at the time. Jeff is standing between the woman in pink and the girl with the red sweater, and he is roasting a marshmallow for Matt, who is seated next to the woman in red; he is wearing a hooded jacket. Drew (in maroon checked shirt) is seated. directly across from Jeff, next to Matt. I am, of course, behind the camera as usual! 🙂 Thanks for asking. BTW, I wish Drew or SOMEONE in my family did play the guitar!

  4. Sheila

    Good morning, Julia. We have family visiting from Tampa and also Winston Salem, so yesterday was our “get together”. Our daughters and 6 grandchildren came. Mimi called….. they all came! With a little coaxing I’d share the southern menu! My guess,regarding the two that married, would be the couple in the foreground. Happy weekend! Sheila

    • Hi Sheila, Sounds like you are having a wonderful time! I figured most people would make the same guess you did. It’s logical, but incorrect. 🙂 Good guess- read the further comments to find out; I’ll be giving some clues!

  5. The young lady sitting in the forefront with long hair,jeans,and tennis shoes AND the young man playing the guitar.

    • No, that’s a good guess, but the two you name are actually brother and sister! This is fun.

  6. Loren N. Brown

    Dear Julia,

    It’s about time I wrote to let you know how beautiful, thoughtful and inspiring your messages are to me. I “met” you on the U.R. site and, though I’ve never posted there, I do read and pray along with everyone. It’s truly a blessing to be a part of such a loving family. Your meditations always seem to be so timely: a few days ago you focused on the calming beauty of water and I had just been reading Mark’s gospel, where Jesus spent time walking “by the lakeside”.

    Thank you for all your efforts in keeping your wonderful blog online. I send love and prayers to you and all your family. Veronica Brown Saratoga Springs, NY

    • Veronica, thank you so much for taking the time to write! I always feel so happy to be “introduced” to a friend I didn’t know about. I’m very happy you like the blog. Jesus did seem to understand the need to create times for peace and quiet. I have always found it instructive and comforting to think about the many times in the Bible when he withdraws from the crowds to a secluded place. To me, it indicates both his human vulnerability AND his divine wisdom, both of which we need more than ever! Thanks again for visiting here. I am delighted to know you enjoy my words and photos.

  7. Janette Roberts

    I do not know anyone in the photo but I think the guy playing and the girl next to him are the couple but then she seems interested in the guy across talking.

    • Janette, you are a tiny bit closer than previous guesses – the girl next to her brother (playing the guitar) is indeed the bride, and the guy across from her (in the bright blue t-shirt) is the groom’s brother. A clue: the groom is not sitting anywhere near the bride! 🙂

  8. Great job Julia! Keep up the “daily” good work. I know it gets hard to do it everyday sometimes. Thanks for supporting mine too. I will definitely look around and see if I find any other daily bloggers. 🙂 Have a great day!

    • I want to go back through all your entries and try some of your ideas. In fact, I may copy your idea sometime in future years; I think it’s a great approach to blogging! Thanks for visiting here!

  9. Love those backyard get togethers. We had a fire pit at the lake and had lots of good, late night chats there. To my knowledge, no hook-ups took place, ha. I have no idea which two youngsters are sparking here, so I’ll just take a wild guess. Is it the tennis shoed girl at the front with the light blue t-shirt boy (both listening to the guitar player)?

    • CLOSE, Boomdee — you have described the bride and the groom’s brother. The groom is not near the bride in the photo. That narrows things down considerably, so maybe someone will yet figure out the answer! I think it would be great to have an outdoor fire pit. Our Hawaiian friend here has a yearly luau in which he roasts a pig outdoors, in the genuine old Hawaiian way (which takes a lot of time), and I always think of that now when I think of outdoor fires and fellowship.

  10. Cheryl

    LOL…. I think the guy playing the guitar and the girl sitting next him would “gag” at all those comments… so funny, Well, I won’t ruin the fun but just want to say “I know, I know….”

    • 🙂 Yes, I thought the same thing! 🙂

  11. Jenelle

    I came on today to tell you, Julia, that I simply love that you inspire your followers everyday, including the weekends! And today is a fun challenge. I know nothing about anyone and right away I picked the girl in the gray hoodie in the front. And her husband to be is the dude sitting in the back left wearing a burgundy shirt and dark gray jacket.

    • Jenelle, Congratulations — YOU WIN! If you’ll send me your address in the comments (I won’t publish the address) I will send you a prize of a $10 gift card to Amazon! Thanks so much for your visits here and your kind thoughts and comments.

  12. How fun! But I see the answer has already been found. Ah well.

    At least I can relate to those wonderful summer afternoons coming from a “colder” climate. 😉

    • Aloha and welcome back! I’ll try to have some more fun and games here in the future. I think I had more fun with it than anyone. How hot does it get in your part of Alaska in the summertime? When is it warmest?

      • Well, it varies. I think a cloudy 60s is average. Although we’ve had a lot of warm sunshine in the 70s (& on a few rare occasions inthe 80s) this summer that has shocked people.

        • Wow, that sounds like beautiful temperatures for summer, similar to summers on the central and northern California coast. Except that October is the hottest month there. You probably have snow by then?! Jeff and I hope to do more traveling in Alaska and go to some of the more northern spots, at lease as far as Anchorage. Maybe we will be able to do that eventually.

      • Yes, i tend to see Halloween as the marker for winter. That is almost always the first day of snow. If you ever make it up here, i bet you’d love it!!

        • WOW, snow on Halloween! Growing up in Atlanta, I remember Halloween as often having just a delicious touch of fall in the air, but warm enough to trick-or-treat without wearing a coat. In California, I had to be careful that the boys didn’t wear costumes that were too HOT! It’s funny how much the climate can vary with even a small distance sometimes. I was stunned to see 20-foot drifts of snow at Crater Lake in Oregon one June. I do so hope Jeff and I will be able to see more of Alaska very soon.

  13. Without reading the other answers I will guess Drew and Megan though I can’t pick her out. Matt looks so little to me. It’s a very nice photo. I am sure it was a very nice picnic. We will have to do one soon here in VA. Love to all.

    • Hi Amy, no, Megan was not in the picture (literally or figuratively) although they had recently met at the time this photo was taken. But it was several years before they started dating. Let’s do plan a picnic in Virginia; so many lovely spots from which we can choose! Hope to see you soon.

  14. Jenelle

    Yeah, hooray, and thank you Julia!!! Wow, what a happy happy day 🙂 Very cool! Aw, such a cute couple 🙂

    • So happy you’re happy! That’s what this blog is for. Thanks for being here, and for your correct guess!


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