It’s funny how the seasons get pigeonholed just like everything else these days. There was a time when summer was the quarter of the year when you worked hard in the blazing hot sun, tilling your fields and whatnot. Now, the way the modern—or postmodern or post-postmodern or soon-to-be-post-historical!—hive mind works, summer has come to signify “fun.” Of course, fun in the sun is all relative. Riding the Beast for the 25th time on a hot Saturday in June? Fun if you’re an over-caffeinated junior high schooler. Learning how to grow the perfect tomato? Fun if you’re into gardening. Sharpening up your short game? Fun (or torture) if you’re a golfer. Everybody still has to work, of course, but summer is when we try not to think about it. I’m trying hard not to think about it now as I write this.
The summer bucket list that we’ve put together is, it turns out, very goal-oriented. You’ll have to work (a little) to cross all 57 of our officially recommended things-to-do off the list, but in the end you’ll feel better for having succeeded. And even if there are certain activities you’re not partial to—roller coasters, for instance, or dancing the Kalamatiano at Panegyri—don’t worry, there’s plenty there to fill in the gaps. Honestly, we think this is a pretty awesome list. Who wouldn’t want to canoe the Little Miami or climb a 100-foot tree or get stuck in the bouncy house at Pump It Up with their 5-year-old? OK, maybe not the last thing. If you don’t do it all this summer, don’t sweat it. Think of this as kind of a summer bucket list for life. The longer you take to complete it, the more summers you get to experience, the longer you live. Yes, you read that right: our summer bucket list will extend your life. As long as you don’t go too crazy at Goettafest.
Above and beyond all the fun we’ve packed in here, there’s a whole lot more good stuff. Like Kathy Y. Wilson’s heartfelt ode on the closing of Keller’s IGA in Clifton, the one grocery store where she could always find single sticks of butter for sale and count on bumping into old friends in the dairy aisle. And Katie Laur’s hilarious recollections of the 20-plus years she’s been spinning records and yarns on WNKU. And Linda Vaccariello’s interview with the man giving Touchdown Jesus a new lease on life. And in our Dine section, our attempt to graph the sudden outbreak of restaurant-sponsored eating challenges on the “Axis of Gusto.” And finally, on the last page, the new line of greeting cards that Bob Woodiwiss wishes Bill Cunningham would have created for Father’s Day.