Summer in the quad is different. If you dropped by occasionally, the first thing you might have noticed was the quiet. When I walked home one afternoon in July, instead of the spring semester Frisbee hurlers and football heavers, three women sat reading under a tree. Six weeks either way and there could have been a concussion.
Summer is also more leisurely, with time for genteel pastimes. One day there was an ice cream social in honor of St. Thomas being named one of the Twin Cities’ best places to work by the Star Tribune. While there weren’t too many people around, we still ran out of cake. So much for our chances of making the list two years running.
A little more exciting were the days of Old Guard visits, workshops, camps and freshman orientation. It was delightful to see alums and freshman alike marveling over the new Anderson Student Center and the Anderson Athletic and Recreation Complex. The camps had their own charms. I picked up on new cheerleading routines and learned non-competitive games for 10-year-olds. One morning, a group of young potential Tommies seemed to be playing a game that simulated chicken killing. Someone would yell, “cluck, cluck” and make a chopping motion at the next person, who yelled “cluck, cluck” in turn. Well, it wasn’t competitive . . .
Also exciting were the sudden showers. No, not acts of God, but acts of the UST sprinkler system. Fed by the underground aquifer of old Lake Mennith, these sprinklers keep the grass green come drought or watering ban. They felt pretty good on those days when the temperature headed toward triple digits.
Inside, there were differences, too. The air conditioner’s chill replaced the winter overheating. There was still great discomfort varying by building, floor and room. Sometimes, of course, there weren’t many of us to be uncomfortable. On July 5 and 6, I thought about getting my friends in the Business Office and setting up a bowling alley in the hallway of Aquinas. Now that they have moved into Murray-Herrick, maybe I’ll ask Jerry Anderley to build me a ramp and take up skateboarding.
Thinking of Murray-Herrick reminds me of the other pastime of summer – watching the construction projects. Since MHC remodeling was interior, we had to be satisfied with critiquing the fountain project. I, personally, objected to the amount of concrete and brick with the consequent loss of grass. I couldn’t figure it out the reason behind this until it occurred to me that perhaps the architect was concerned that the purple soap suds to come would kill the grass.
Summer has its charms, but I’m glad that it’s fall and there are now students back on campus ready to toss in the purple detergent.