Let's take an imaginary ride to my house. I'll drive. When you get in my vehicle you will notice there is sand on the floor. In the middle row of seats there is a volleyball, a pair of sandals, a pair of sneakers, and a beach towel. In the very back there is a bag that has sunscreen, bug spray, and headbands. If you want to sit in the front passenger seat, you will have to move the bag full of gym clothes.
On the way to my house you will hear me comment on how great it is to see so many people walking around town. I might comment on how much I enjoy seeing people play basketball and tennis at Bay View, or football in the grass near the basketball courts. If you are observant you will see several people walking dogs or pushing strollers. There will probably also be some people out running. I won't say it but I will be thinking that I can't wait to get out for my next run.
When we drive along the water you will see people swimming, and maybe some kayaks or paddle boards. We will probably have the windows open because although the weather is nice, it's not so hot you can't stand it. The weather is actually quite perfect.
When we get to my house, you will see the American flag out front. When you walk into the entry way you will see two fold up lawn chairs that are not folded up since they are used frequently this time of year for concerts, campfires, and fireworks. You also will find a watering can so I can easily water my flower pots out front.
Inside my house you may initially think that it's a little bit messy. But I assure you it's an organized, and clean, mess. You can see what I can only describe as "piles of stuff" around the house. It's this way because this time of year I hardly have time to unwind from one event before hopping to the next.
In my house you will first see a golf bag. It's right next to the dining room table, which is right by the door. That's so it's easy to grab for my next game of golf in as short of notice that it might be. Walk past the golf bag, and you will see a hydration backpack, a bike helmet, and riding gloves from riding my bike at Norway Ridge (and it's not put away because it's only a matter of time before the next trail ride). Just a few feet away from that is a backpack that has more sunscreen, a water bottle, a long sleeve shirt, another beach towel, and a pair of flip flops. That backpack was dropped off after a game of volleyball and wasn't unpacked because I wanted to get to sleep by a decent time.
On the table is my bike lock. You never know when I'll hop on my bike to get to a concert, run to the store, or to a barbeque.
If you move into the kitchen you will still see cupcake pans and plastic containers that need to be put away from the League of Michigan Bicyclists event that my mom and I volunteered at. Then, if you round the corner to the back hallway you will see a tennis racket, a sleeve of tennis balls, a baseball glove, a football, a softball, another lawn chair, and water float toys.
Then there are the piles of clothes. Usually I'm in such a hurry bouncing from one fun event to another that the change of clothes doesn't make it immediately to the laundry basket.
So what's the point of all of this? The disaster that is my vehicle and house means just one thing - it's summertime in northern Michigan! It's more than just the calendar that tells me it's summertime. It's the energy, the weather, the happy people, the increase number of people enjoying the outdoors. Sure it's summertime in many places, but the greatest summer can be found in Northern Michigan. Who cares if the house gets cluttered, or the vehicle piles up with summertime accessories. Let it go and enjoy this beautiful place we have chosen to call home.
Jackie Krawczak is the executive director of the Alpena Area Chamber of Commerce. Her column runs bi-weekly on Tuesdays. Follow Jackie on Twitter @jkrawczak.