Truth be told, I’ve always loathed the summer time growing up, even throughout most of college. First of all, I can’t stand the heat. Hate it. It makes me sick, very literally. I’m extremely sensitive to overheating. Have been all my life. A September tailgate was interrupted last year by a trip to the ER. One minute I was slugging cold beers and throwing washers, then the next I was curled up in the fetal position with an ice cold towel on my head. I thought I was dying. “Then why do you live in Texas, dumbass?” That’s a question I sometimes ask myself, but the answer will always meagerly follow suit through the mental muck and anguish: I still love it here. It’s home, and Austin is an amazing city that leaves you without an excuse for boredom to find you. It’s a vibrant place with too much to do, at least if you have means of transportation, and especially if you are of drinking age. But holy shit does it get hot here May through September.
Summer also always sucked because it would seem like that final bell would ring on the last day of the spring semester and all my friends would disappear for three months. Summer camps, shitty $7.00-an-hour jobs serving ice cream or lifeguarding, select baseball leagues — everyone just split. My dad would put me to work for his construction company, working a shovel or operating small machinery (in the heat) among non-English speakers twice or three times my age. It was agonizing. Later, in college, summer school was never really a thing with my fraternity brothers. Everyone, minus a couple overachievers, seemed to head back home to work or intern until school started again in the fall. It seemed that every student did the same. Life around campus came to a complete standstill. It was a total ghost town. I’d head home for the summer, like everyone else I knew, and bide my time until fall rush.
It all came together my final summer as an undergraduate. The stars aligned perfectly: I stayed in Austin, my boys were in town, and I had limited time-commitments or responsibilities. Also, these reasons:
Thanks to the connections of two of my friends and roommates, we were set up for the summer golfing spree of a lifetime. Four roommates, four shitty golfers — the perfect foursome.
One buddy, we’ll call him Chuck, worked part time at Austin Country Club that summer — my favorite golf course in the Austin area, sitting waterfront on Lake Austin. He got the job through his father. His father worked in the ACC front office, a mover and shaker. Because of this, we snatched up tee times when they were available, and when we could all make the time. The four of us played a lot of golf there that summer, about three or four times every month.
Another roommate, we’ll call him Eugene, worked in the 19th Hole at Barton Creek Country Club. Barton Creek is a four-track resort and country club that is widely known as one of the nicer in Texas. Working the 19th Hole, the name of the club’s locker room bar, was about as cush of a summer gig as you could get. His job was basically to glad-hand the members, hook them up with drinks, shoot the shit with the late Darrell K. Royal (drank merlot in there regularly), and of course reserve tee times for the four of us.
We played Barton Creek about three to four times every month, too. ACC and BC, undeniably the two nicest places in central Texas to swing the sticks, and likely two of the nicest in all of Texas, were mainstays in our 22-year-old, career-less lives. We played at least one, often both, every week. We bet the little money we had on each round, often substituting cash for beer, but we could afford it — the golf never cost us a dime.
My parents lived — up until one week ago, actually — on Lake Austin. Their house had a boat slip. Their boat slip was occupied by a boat. We could use the boat willingly. Game over. Two to three days a week we would fill the coolers, load up about 10 people deep, and head out on the water.
We always ended up anchoring the boat in a cove across from Hula Hut, a popular lakeside restaurant and dock. It was the “party cove,” as some people called it. It was filled, FILLED, with boats and people, sometimes making it quite the challenge to navigate through at an idle. Rows and rows of boats would be tied up together, sometimes 25 altogether in a single row, with music blaring from their tower speakers, creating a floating makeshift runway of some of the most attractive, bikini-clad 20-somethings the city had to offer. They traded off bonging beers, talking about how hot they were, and shaking their 20-something asses. Our boat would typically stay on the outskirts of the chaos, just creepily watching and trading exchanges of “check out Yellow bikini” elbow nudges behind our mirrored shades.
You show me someone who doesn’t have fun anchored in a cove on a hot, sunny day with some cold beer, some good tunes, and a plethora of eye candy to take in, and I’ll show you a terrorist.
Given the moniker, “Best Front Porch in Austin” by, well, us, our house that summer had the best front porch in Austin. Sitting just west of Austin’s bar district, the old four-bedroom home sat on seemingly the most bustling intersection in North America, just crawling with interesting people, also the go-to dog walking route for every large breasted dog owner in the city.
What an amazing home that was. The front yard was a perfect setting for a rousing game of washers, and the front porch was ideal for beer drinking and watching the city pass by. Being a six dollar cab ride from 6th Street, we logged quite a few roundtrips between the house and the bars.
- Image via Austin Country Club
Contrary to how you’ve likely received this column up to this point, this wasn’t meant to be self-indulging. I’m going to leave you with an actual takeaway here, and here it is: that summer was by far the best of my life to that point. However, because of the year-round freedom I’ve enjoyed moving forward, it’s been just as sweet ever since.
Your last summer as an undergrad isn’t a time to reflect on the responsibility-less freedom you’ve enjoyed up to that point, but is a precursor to your ultimate freedom. Common belief is that it’s your one last hoorah until you enter the workforce, and if you see it that way, I feel sorry for you. You’re not allowing yourself to take what life is offering you.
Your final summer as an undergrad is a pregame, or prefunk, for the rest of your days.