There is only one rule: The summer we are searching for cannot be fun.
By fun, I mean it cannot involve:
College girls riding in convertibles with their bare feet propped up on the dashboard and their hair blowing across their sunglasses.
College girls in bikinis sunning themselves on the beach.
College girls, period. Okay?
What we're looking for is the languid summer. The summer when fish were jumpin', cotton was high, and the livin' was easy.
Remember that summer?
Lazy? Hazy? Crazy?
Any of this ringing a bell?
It was a slow-moving time, if memory serves.
Nobody did anything. Kids, especially. The main thing they did was get bored. When they got tired of being bored, they called a friend and the two of them got bored.
"Nothin'. Whatta you doin'?"
"Wanna do somethin'?"
"Whattaya wanna do?"
"I dunno. Whatta you wanna do?"
"You want something to do?" an exasperated parent overhearing the conversation would call out. "You can mow the lawn."
Those afternoons were the very definition of misspent. Doing something was as close as you could get to doing nothing. Like getting ice cream. Or listening to the baseball game on the radio. Or just hanging out, arguing about who made the town's best burgers.
Boredom and indolence and sloth were found in the very marrow of summer. And it was, if I am remembering right, the best time of our lives.
That is the summer for which we're searching.
To find it, you have to sift through clues.