My dad once suggested to me that I write about warm-weather calendar items in the middle of winter, to impart warmth to my readers.
Can’t say I listened to him. (Hey, why start now?)
But I’m going to write about a warm summer week this week, for no other reason than I’ve been craving weather like this for months, and we’re almost there … just about in beer-and-barefoot-grilling territory, so close I can touch it.
This particular summer week has some small degree of retrospective family significance, as well.
My grandfather’s job as a draftsman at Time Inc., his breadwinning gig for much of his adult life, ended in January 1970.
He then hooked on from April through September of that year with John McAdams and Sons, a small firm in nearby Norwalk, before work slowed down and they let him go.
He was jobless and looking until he had his first heart attack, in May 1971, at which point he retired.
So the week we’re looking at here — July 27-30, 1970 — might have been my grandfather’s last vacation as a working man.
A minor distinction, to be sure, but a distinction nonetheless. The promise of vacation helps make work tolerable, no matter what your job. And even a dutiful gent like my grandpa needed to put his feet up every now and again.
So what did he do with his time off? Barefoot grilling and beer?
Unfortunately, it seems like he had to spend some of it attending to chores — a doctor’s appointment for my great-grandma here, a service checkup on his car there.
I note that July 28 and 29 have pretty much nothing listed. While he probably spent some time doing routine household chores, like weeding the garden, I imagine he might have just grabbed a glass of cold lemonade and sat down in front of a floor fan for a while.
On July 30, he roused himself long enough to head down to the post office and stop his mail, in preparation for an out-of-town trip.
It’s interesting that he didn’t leave town a couple days earlier, even though there were no commitments on his calendar. Instead, he stayed in Stamford and baked in the stifling heat he disliked for a couple of days.
And then, escape was at hand for the traveling man.
But we’ll get back to that next week, I think.