Ciao'd while watching the crowds enjoy strawberries and cream at the All England Club.

July 4th went out like a lion wearing red, white and blue bunting.  July 5th came in like a summer lamb, serene and still.

Our town’s roads once again reveal the pavement that was obscured during the school year by a wave of SUVs and sta-wags driven by moms ferrying kids to school, practice, orthodontist and tutor, and themselves to tennis games, yoga, shopping, and the market.  It’s a dangerous place to be, that road.  Everybody is in a hurry, chatting on phones, putting on make-up, glancing back to check on crying children, or to hand a teenager a water bottle for practice.   No judgment here. I am guilty as charged.

Now my son has his license. Perhaps I am more attuned to the mayhem when I am alone in my car - and missing my son’s mayhem.

I live in the kind of place where summer pulls us like a swift tide to locations nostalgic, familiar and beloved. It's a place where murmurings of back East, Maine, Tahoe and Catalina paint shimmering pictures of rippling, blue water, sailcloth beach bags, family barbecues (aka cookouts), rowboats, skiffs and canoes, G+T’s, V+T’s and cold beer.  Everybody smile for the camera! Some leave for the entire summer, others for weeks, and a few stay behind reveling in a place that others would call “paradise.” 

I think you've got the picture. We aren't exactly living in a hardscrabble community. Our children live in a microcosm of opportunity and privilege, and most of us work super hard to give them that. We live in an idyllic spot but is that enough to craft an idyllic life? I wonder. I look around, and I muse about the people I observe on the sidelines and in the  check-out line.  Are these the two weeks that mom and dad don’t argue? Will the bank account be okay even though the bank account isn’t okay? Will the parents pay attention to the kids during this lull when they don’t regard them the rest of the year? Façade can be as tricky to wear as self-tanner.

Still, summer!  Laughter, fireflies, dewy mornings, heady nights. A gleaming respite from routine. Our family heads to the Cape (Cod) in August to rendezvous with my sisters and their clans. Whoever gets there first (and you hope it isn't you – thanks, D4 ), opens the house, raises the windows to welcome the sea air, hoses the deck, counts the Bicycle cards to ensure a full deck, and picks a bouquet of hydrangeas for the table. Chances are pretty good you’ll get a call from the house as you make your way along Rte. 6 that begins “Can you stop at the farm stand and pick up…”

Well yes, of course. Strawberries on their way.



This super-easy dessert is just the thing to follow casual summer dinners. Strawberries and balsamic vinegar are a classic combination. The berries’ sweetness dances sublimely with the subtle tartness of the vinegar. Gently sweetened whipped cream lends a creamy note to the crunch.

Serves 4

4 cups strawberries, hulled and sliced
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Brown Sugar Whipped Cream:
1 cup chilled heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Freshly grated lemon zest, for serving (optional)

In a medium bowl, toss all the ingredients for the strawberries. Let stand at room temperature, tossing occasionally, for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

In a medium bowl, whip the cream and brown sugar until soft peaks form.

With a slotted spoon, place a serving of strawberries in each bowl and top with a dollop of whipped cream. Dust lightly with lemon zest, if using.