“Summertime, summertime, sum sum summertime….” Those lyrics from the Jamies 1958 hit for Epic Records are the kind that get stuck in your head and then you can’t get them out, but at least they’re happy lyrics! Over the years, a number of people have written songs for the summer season, among them: “Summertime” by George Gershwin and performed by Ella Fitzgerald (and others), “Summer in the City” by the Lovin’ Spoonful, “Hot Time in the Summertime” by Sly and the Family Stone, “Crazy for You” by Best Coast, “Here Comes Summer” by Jerry Keller, “You Are My Sunshine” by Elizabeth Mitchell, “Summer Days” by the Beach Boys (and nearly everything else they ever recorded!), and “Schools Out for Summer” by Alice Cooper. I attended an Alice Cooper concert way back in 1970 at the Akron Rubber Bowl (in the early summertime) where the band performed that song as its closing piece. Needless to say, the stadium went crazy! Music is such a connector of time, events and memories.
Diane and I occasionally meet people who ask about our trip to Europe two summers ago. It happened, again Tuesday evening at the reception at the Uptown restaurant following Nancy Shepherd’s memorial service. We were sitting with one of the musicians from the service and the conversation somehow segued into trips abroad and our experiences in Europe. In Ireland, we were surprised at how warm the reception was for Americans. We expected that Ireland would be a welcoming place, but it was beyond imagination. When we arrived at a new hotel on July 5, we were curious as to why the American Flag waved from the flagpole in the courtyard. We asked why (always the American way) and found out that they were still celebrating the American Independence Day. Really! The day before, they even had a parade and fireworks to mark the anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia on July 4, 1776. Confused? They celebrate our day because we were the first colonial possession to successfully separate from the most powerful Empire on earth. So, there you have it.
But there’s more…really. In Belfast, Northern Ireland (still a British possession) and in Dublin, Ireland we found something interesting. In both cities, on the grounds of their city squares are “monuments”; in Belfast one to the Queen and in Dublin one to their Independence, in both cities one to the United States Army Air Corps which operated out of their lands during WWII, and in both cities a plaque in honor of former US President William Jefferson Clinton. He is credited with ending the conflict between England and the IRA when he, Senator George Mitchell and a Canadian official traveled to Northern Ireland in order to spur both sides toward peace. Everyone there loves America and Americans. It was a humbling and educational experience to be sure.
Posted on Tue, July 12, 2016
by Doug Meister