Enjoy the final days of summer with a well-planned outdoor dinner and movie night

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There is something magical about summer — like almost anything is possible and anything could happen. The air smells thick with jasmine and freshly cut grass. The lightning bugs dance to create an unspoken, artistic performance in the background, while the frogs croak in the distance and the cicadas buzz their southern song.

Gardens of flowers are fully in bloom, and the leafy trees are lush and deep green. Even the humidity, although we reserve the right to complain about it, takes on a dreamy quality that makes us swoon.

Maybe it’s the youthful memories that keep us coming back to summer: those no-school nights with the car windows rolled down and late-night star gazing with the ease of friends. Or, it’s the days at the lake and the beach with all their romance that ends seamlessly with a painted sunset. Back-to-school will come soon enough, and there will be pleasures with that. But for right now, let’s relish the last days of summer.

The backyard party lights call for outdoor eating and backyard movie nights. And why not have a party to celebrate the most carefree, relaxed, hair-blowing-in-the-wind season there is? How about dinner and a movie — outside? Pull out some party plates, glassware and cutlery that says, “fun.”

Decorate the table with burlap runners and small bouquets of flowers surrounded by votive candles. Try placing a collection of lanterns around the yard for ambience and enjoy barbecue sliders with coleslaw and chips. What could be better to drink with that than ice-cold fruity water, beer and sweet tea?

When time comes for the movie, you simply move the table aside. Friends can bring their own chair or blanket and action. The stage is set for thrills under the night sky. You can rent movie-watching equipment or if you know a technical wizard, you can set up your backyard for a movie-going experience no one will likely forget. (Note to self: If you don’t remember the Yard Guard, friends will only remember the mosquitos, and the mosquitos will be the only ones looking forward to the next movie night!)

Sweet summertime: mo wonder we want to relish it. The lightning bugs will soon dance their last swing and the summer bugs will sing a final song. Eventually, the great mowers-of-yards will cut their last blade of grass, and the jasmine’s final bloom will have fallen.

But, for now, we will play in it, and sing with our windows down. We will laugh as much as we can, and have dinner and a movie outside.

Enjoy these last sweet days of summer!