Isn't July in Norwalk wonderful?
If you live on Maple or Parsons or Welton or Marion or just about any of our neighborhoods, summer in Norwalk means you can smell your neighbor's steaks and burgers grilling in the close backyards
You can hear the Cleveland Indians' games through open windows and from radios on decks and porches when you take your evening walk.
When the wind turns right, you are surrounded by the fragrance of buns baking at New Horizons.
A couple of nights a week Summit Motorsports Park thunders in the distance (but nobody in town actually calls it by that new name).
Truck tires sing on the bypass round the clock. Canada geese honk along the reservoir. And each summer a few more air conditioners can be heard humming off the back of the house.
Adult hands smack mosquitoes while smaller hands tune instruments at band practice. The smallest hands of all wave at their moms from the water at Valley Beach.
As in all seasons, the trains idle in from the west, glide between Manahan and Minard, rumble under the Linwood bridge and then begin the long uphill strain to Hartland Center, sounding their horns at Benedict and Woodlawn and Corwin and then, interestingly, at Woodlawn again.
Summer for a lot of people here is an endless cycle of mowing the lawn, weeding the garden and spraying the Japanese beetles. But this summer there has been less grass to mow and more marveling at the way the rain storms have missed us.
The few late July fireflies flicker to remind you how fast the summer is passing.
There is a glow of low voltage landscape lights in most neighborhoods.
From the edge-of-town neighborhoods you can hear the rustling of the corn in the fields.
On the southside, you can pick out the Big Dipper which looks like it is right over downtown. And on the northside you can bask in the yellow nighttime glow from Wal-Mart and the car dealers and Bill Baines Park.
Eating out in Norwalk at this time of year means devouring a Coney or dip top cone or onion rings or sundae or banana split at Vargo's or H & B Hop, radiant in their yellow fluorescence with cars encircling them like piglets at feeding time.
The end of July means remembering the Fourth and anticipating the fair.
This is also when you start watching this newspaper for the back-to-school ads, the class enrollment listings for Maplehurst, Benedict and League, the high school football preview issue, and the first school lunch menus.
By now you are sick of Cedar Point/Kalahari/Great Wolf traffic but admit that it was not as bad as you thought it would be.
We look at Main Street through eyes that recall July nights alive with cars cruising and music playing.
Thunderstorms roll through. Limbs break off the old maples. We marvel and then clean up.
It doesn't change much in Norwalk from one July to the next.
And isn't it wonderful?