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Sue's Views: Even if weather doesn't say so, we can make it summer by our words, deeds

I hate when the weather is its own punch line. Honestly, the jokes just wrote themselves this week. On Monday, I applied three layers of sunscreen, wore an ill-fitting hat and had two gallons of water with me for the Babe Ruth game. On Thursday, I was wearing three layers of clothes, wishing for a blanket and checking for ice in the water bottle at the softball field.

The weather just has been overwhelming this year. A long snowy winter followed by a longer, wetter spring and so far, only three days of summer.

But before I whine one more second, let me just say that I will gratefully take this spring in Morris over the spring they had in Joplin, MO or the unbelievable late spring flooding in Sioux City, Iowa. So I turned the furnace on Thursday night. I am blessed to have a home and my family and a heating bill in June.

But I am soooo ready for summer and the summer festivals.

As luck would have it, the Chokio Community Picnic and Cyrus Days are on tap this weekend. And they couldn't have come at a better time.

Nothing gets you in the spirit for a new season like a community festival. Each festival has its own variation, but most of them include a parade, arts and crafts, music and food, not to mention bringing families together from far and near -- children returning home with children of their own because they wouldn't dream of missing their hometown's festival.

The best part is no one cares if you're not really "from" that community. They just want to have fun and hope you'll have some fun too.

Personally, I love parades and fireworks.

Let me be very specific about the parades. I love watching parades. I spent a number of years earlier in my life sitting on top of a vehicle wearing a chicken suit and waving to folks on the curb in every parade within 30 miles of here. Here's a hint, folks, even with a gigantic chicken head on, I could still hear you. Sigh. Needless to say, the parade always looks and sounds better from the curb.

My favorite part of a parade is when a grandparent has a grandchild with them, driving down the middle of the street to show off their pride and joy to the whole town. It is one of those bucolic moments that our big city cousins will never get to appreciate.

Fireworks are another one of those things that I think are better in a rural area. In an age when I am tethered to the office whenever my cell phone is on, there is nothing quite as miraculous as watching fireworks light up the entire sky. That moment when the streaking flash in the sky explodes into a celestial chrysanthemum or willow tree is one of the few moments when I can find nothing wrong with the world. In fact, having nothing interfere with your view of the horizon just makes the fireworks seem bigger, in my opinion.

By the way, those are the technical names for the display, although one of my other favorite things about fireworks is listening to my children come up with new names for them.

So, take in a parade this weekend. Watch some fireworks. Go to a street dance. Say, "Hey, how have you been?" to an old friend or "Hi, I'm new here," to someone you've never met. Get into the spirit of summer even if Mother Nature hasn't really brought us summer yet.

One side note, the Morris Area Chamber of Commerce is deep into planning for the 2011 Prairie Pioneer Days, which will be held July 8-10. If you would like to help out with any of the activities for our community festival, or would like to be in the big parade, contact the Chamber at 320-589-1242 and let them know.