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Summer Safely

As you venture out, do so safely and smartly



After planting some of my garden in early April, I was finally able to get the remainder in this past week. It's rained so much lately that working the garden soil was a non-starter. Come August, I'll reap the world's smallest and greenest tomatoes. On the bright side, the cherry tree at my garden's edge is full of cherries for the first time since it was planted about 10 years ago. It's never yielded a single cherry till this year.

Such is springtime in Utah these days, a time this year when boys' baseball teams cancelled many games due to cold rain but could have completed those same games in January in short sleeves. Gardeners and skiers alike were all over the Twittosphere suggesting that something was seriously wrong with our planet. Even geese and butterflies clarioned their alarm at this so-called global warming on their own Twitter feeds. I was all a-shiver until a funny looking fellow I've barely heard of named Ted Cruz calmed my nerves by declaring that he had just visited Boston, where it wasn't warm at all and where there was plenty of very cold and deep snow. So there.

Good weather will come, I thought, and sure enough, it did—in 30-minute batches all through May—but there was not enough consistently good weather to get my last tomatoes in until three days ago. Oh well.

I raise a pretty good vegetable garden every year, though it's not like I depend on it for sustenance. The farmer's market in Murray Park is for that, where I've learned it's cheaper to buy in big batches from local growers than to depend on my own greenish thumb. I have a simple rule when it comes to measuring gardening prowess: If all you will share with your neighbors is a zucchini the size of dachshund, you are not a gardener. You are one more garden pest.

Now, the weather warms and you are reading our annual Summer Guide issue. Ted Cruz be damned, there is really only one portent of the light God shines on our planet, a singular evidence that global warming is a giant liberal hoax, and that is the City Weekly Summer Guide. Have at it. You'll find plenty of things to do and plenty of places to go throughout Utah, which we all know is the grandest and most diverse state of all in which to find things to do. That's what we do in Utah: We find things to do.

On a dour note, I'd like to tell you we finished our summer-guide app, but we didn't. When it got warm in January, we abandoned plans for the app, not knowing if we had already arrived at summer. We, in this newspaper business, can't seem to catch a break these days. Even as El Niño conspires against us, we do the heavy lifting. All we ask of you is that, as you venture out, do so safely and smartly. As well, if you do anything in Utah with a beer in either hand, don't drive.

Or use watercraft. Or ATVs. Or get pissed off at your friends and start hiking back to the highway alone. Or stand too close to the fire. Or sleep in a tent with a gas space heater. Or take a bite of your hot dog while it's still on the stick. Or fling a hot marshmallow. Or stand next to a cliff. Or cliff dive. Or walk behind a horse. Or try to tip a cow or milk a bull. Or walk barefoot on asphalt. Or eat Power Bait on a dare. Or forget to take the flashlight on the way to the outhouse. Or have sex on a pine-bough mattress. Or forget where the outhouse is.

We awoke Tuesday morning to the terrible news of four persons dying Monday evening after a boating accident on Bear Lake. That they were wearing life preservers means they were both safe boaters and aware of the danger they were in. Their boat capsized. The lake was cold, and the winds were strong. Water Safety 101 dictates that is a bad combination. After nearly two hours of being tossed in the churning and wild Bear Lake, they were pulled from what is normally the prettiest blue water in Utah. So, do be careful, please—because if it can happen in the blue waters of Bear Lake, it can happen anywhere. As it nearly happened to me.

A number of years ago, I was in the middle of Pineview Reservoir, enjoying my first ever ride on a WaveRunner. It overturned. As is the habit of folks with beers in their hands, no one showed me how to get back onto the craft should it tip—I had boarded it like a horse in shallow water before speeding to midlake where a rogue wave the size of just one pat of butter was enough to toss me into the water. There, I bobbed for nearly an hour—in the middle of a hot, summer day—sweating and struggling to get back onboard, watching boats and other single rider craft come and go, screaming uselessly at every one of them. It wasn't long before I couldn't even lift my arms. The only thing that kept me motivated—yes, I did think this—was that I wasn't ready for this headline in The Salt Lake Tribune: "Good Riddance to Jackass Publisher."

I was finally thrown a rope and towed to shore (think reeling in a halibut). It's a pretty funny story, but I can't make it funny today. I feel terribly for those folks who died in Bear Lake. Be safe this summer.

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