I was sitting in church this morning when a memory of summer came flashing to the forefront of my mind. Running barefoot through the warm, green grass under the bright sunshine.
When I see posts about driving on the backroads I giggle cause I lived on a backroad. We kept the front windows closed or barely cracked because we didn’t want all the dust coming in from people driving by and most seemed to think they were on a nascar track. I grew up living in the country with hayfields all around and neighbors that were down the road not next door. No air conditioning but boxed fans in the window. The sweet scents of the mimosa tree that grew next to the house and the old fashioned pink roses that overwhelmed the mailbox. We really did have sun tea or cold well water on those long hot summer days.
I can remember when we got air conditioning it was HEAVEN! Pretty sure I can’t live without it now except for when I head out to Albuquerque in October. This last year I left the windows open on the little airbnb place I stayed…it was fantastic!
In the summer we were outside everyday either riding our bikes, mopeds (we had them before they were cool), motorcycle, or two legs depending on where we were going. For us distance was a relative thing. A few miles or 10 miles was nothing depending on what mode of transportation.
We would head to the creek so we could wade in to cool off and have some fun. Not quite the scene from ‘O Brother Where Art Thou’. If you don’t know what I’m talking about click here. We watched for snakes but the water was so cold I never really worried too much – they were probably all along the banks waiting for us to get out of the water. I remember chewing on the mint that grew in the creek and its sweet spearmint flavor. Now I’d get whiplash from trying to keep a lookout for creepy crawly things.
As we got older our transportation changed to an old Chevy truck and by old I mean 1963. There was no power steering, it still took regular gas, and the gear shift would come out of the floor. Even better it had a canoe rack on it that rattled non-stop. There were plenty of fun times in that old truck. Our first trip onto the blacktop heading to softball practice the gear shift came out. Can’t lose your calm in the face of adversity. I had my sister grab the wheel and try to keep it straight on a curvy road while I got in the floor board and put the shifter back in. Good times! You would think that would be it for the day, but no. Once the gear shift was in, we got about a quarter of a mile up the road to discover a cow had gotten out and was standing in the road. I didn’t want to hurt her so I slowed way down. Well this was too slow because she stuck her head in the passenger side window. I then had two sisters up in my grill as I’m screaming at them to get the cow out. My leadership and parenting skills obviously were off to a rough start because I was bossy as hell since I was the oldest. I think I’ve made some improvement over the years.
As summer is approaching here in the Ozarks I’m just reminded of my youth. You know you lived in the country when directions included at the end of the pavement turn left onto the dirt road. Now the pavement doesn’t end and the dirt road is completely different from when I was a kid. My grandparents live at the end of the pavement that doesn’t end now, so I’ve been able to see the changes over the years when I would visit.
I always hated it when the road graders came through because it was guaranteed, when I went around the curve on my bike a rock would catch on the tire and I’d go flying. I did that once right into a fence and it hurt like the devil. Thank goodness that wasn’t a barbed wire fence but I’ve crawled through many of them.
I just don’t remember watching tv like I do now. I was always outside. We had a street light of all things right across from the house, which was in the middle of nowhere. The bats loved us because the light attracted bugs for them to snack on. I could watch them for hours and if I wasn’t doing that I was practicing for softball by throwing rocks at the pole. I’m astounded I never had one come back and nail me in the head. I had a good aim that’s for sure.
Lots of good memories from my time in the country. It’s funny how now I really enjoy the comforts of town living. Probably because I can come home everyday at lunch and take a little breather from work. In the spring and summer I work on my tan by sitting on the back deck. Ginger, my rat terrier, is happy to have some yard time. Her life sentence of living with this human is hard…real hard. Eye roll with me.
Today was a great day to be out enjoying the warmth and before too long summer will be here. For me that means bringing out the boat and heading for the lake rather than going to the creek. Times have definitely changed not necessarily for the better just different. We all mature and the boat is the mature version of me wading in the creek.
Enjoy some sunshine and before too long it will be summertime!