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. Chris

    Hey! I see Jeff roasting a marshmallow, but that’s it. Looks like a very nice gathering, and much fun. Whenever I hear the phrase ‘summer afternoon’, I think of Summer Breeze, a number 1 hit in 1972 by Seals &Croft. Maybe the link will take you there! A great song of yesteryear.
    You’re right, though, a summer day where I live now is SO hot that we “seniors” don’t spend much time outside. But, if it’s time at the beach, well, the heat is ok then.
    Have a wonderful summer week!

    • Chris, I am listening to that song as I write this. I always liked Seals and Crofts, and this is one of my favorites of their songs. Though the video linked to the song shows outdoor scenes, for me the music most vividly evokes the indoor scenes it describes, with breezes blowing curtains in the windows, and food cooking in the kitchen, with plates for two. For those of us who are homebodies, there are as many (maybe more) happy indoor memories as outdoor ones, even in summer. Though it’s definitely a song from yesteryear, I hope that younger generations can identify at least a little bit with the domestic bliss it celebrates. Hope your week is a happy one!

      • Chris

        I agree, Julia. The video didn’t quite match my thoughts either. Still, enjoyed listening to the song. Have a blessed day!

        • Thanks, you too!

  2. Ron Wood (London, Ontario)

    My guess, your oldest son and his wife. I have followed your posts I think from the beginning and I have enjoyed them very much. I hope things are getting a little easier for you now.

    • Ron, here’s the answer to the riddle, quoted from the 2013 comments where, after many others’ wrong or half correct guesses, Jenelle came up with the accurate answer: “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.” These two were the son and daughter of two couples who were friends of ours. The girl’s family is one we knew in Texas, who had just moved to California and met another couple from church of whom we were equally fond. We were tickled pink that the two families became friends and ultimately, in-laws! Things are gradually getting easier on the whole, thought it often feels like two steps forward, then one (or sometimes two) steps back. Such is life, I guess. It’s nice to hear from you! And yes, I remember you from way back. It’s so fun to think that many of you have been here for lo these many years (soon to be eight whole years! WOW). Thanks for sticking around! 😀

  3. Good Summer Morning, Julia!
    Here in the northerly climes, an extra perk is the later sunset, which extends summer afternoon bliss into summer evening bliss. (That’s right up until the mosquitoes chase us indoors!)

    • Yes, it took me a few years of moving around to figure out that there was much more seasonal difference in the daylight the further north one went. I can remember how stark the contrast was between San Antonio and the Bay Area, for example, when we moved from the Republic of Texas to the NorCal Republic in 1999. Those lovely long summer days come at the price of early darkness in the winter, but hey, everything’s a trade off, right? 😀

  4. Mike C

    I am guessing it is the guitar player and the one oogling him sitting across.
    Did you catch my July 30th devotional in UR?
    I am reading the Tim Egan book on Seattle and the early days and the indians, and E.H. Curtis- the “Shadow Catcher” who documented the American indian in 20 volumes over 35 years – a life’s work. It is just sad to think a nation founded on religious liberty did all they could do destroy and outlaw the spiriituality of the Native Americans.

    • Mike, I did read your devotional and I liked it. I had not realized that you were once agnostic. I always find it fascinating to hear people’s stories of how they came to the faith, or left it, or found a different denomination or branch of faith than the one in which they grew up. It amazes me how many lives there are on this earth, each with a totally unique journey and set of circumstances. Well done! Re: the riddle– a lot of people guessed what you did, but it’s the wrong answer; those two are brother and sister. You can read the right answer already posted here in the comments and in the comments of the original post. I haven’t read that book, but it does sound interesting. I got on the waitlist for it at the library.

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