Not to make our friends to the north jealous, but I'm writing this in shorts and flip-flops. On Feb. 26. The summer of 2016-2017 started in late January, after maybe three days of wintry weather from November through Christmas. Flowers are blooming, pets are shedding, pollen is blowing and everyone is sneezing. It feels ungrateful to complain about a mild winter, but I only got to wear scarves maybe six times, and I shudder to think of how hot July will be. We will broil like ribs on a grill, is how hot it will be. There's no summer like a South Carolina summer--hot, sweet, sticky, giddy, sodden with the scent of pluff mud and Little league popcorn. Chickens take dust baths and old folks rock on the porch saying, "Why are we sweating out here when it's 72 degrees in the house? Get up, Myrtle, my stories are on." And that's (an early) summer in the south. Stay hydrated, y'all!