I set a jar of cold water and six tea bags on a tree stump in the back yard. I don’t know if sun tea is better than the boiled kind. It’s simply a symbol of a good Southern country good times.
We used to have a hand-crank ice cream freezer. The kids sat on it while the adults turned the crank. I didn’t do much of either. I mostly got in the way because I was too skinny my weight was worthless to keep the thing still. And I certainly couldn’t turn the crank. Nevertheless, this was good ice cream, making good memories.
My daughter, Jenny, used to fish for crawdads at the ditch by our mountain church in New Mexico. I hope she got as much out church as she did out of fishing with her friends.
My sister who is nine years my senior remembers going to youth camp when they had to pay $7.50 and a pound of bacon. She also remembers driving the tractor when she and the cousins weren’t old enough. But she wasn’t four like Cousin Jimmy and I were. We scared the aunts and uncles–did we get attention!
In the 1920s, my mother’s family had an old car. It didn’t run. What she used it for, it didn’t need to run. She quickly got her chores done, took an old hymnal out to that car. She’d sit in the back seat and let the sun beam on her. She’d sing to the top of her lungs, “Let the Lower Lights Be Burning,” “Brighten the Corner Where You Are,”Standing on the Promises” and whatever else was in the hymnal that she knew–and maybe some she didn’t.
A couple more from my mother. She and her brother smeared axle grease all over each other. She says she doesn’t know why her mother didn’t beat the tar out of her. One Halloween she and friends stole a chicken, roasted and ate it. She said it was sure tough! Mother! I’m ashamed of you!
David and his life-long best friend, Gary, once camped in the back yard. They cut weeds (the weeds we had in the 1950s) about 1-1/2 inches, punched holes through them with a nail, burned one end with the outdoor barbecue and blew smoke. They did not inhale!
My friend Denise tells a couple of good Southern California memories. They had an apricot tree in their yard. In the summer, she hid in it. This is where she did all her thinking and planning. Nobody knew where to find her. In the fall, she and her brother raked the leaves from the tree, then jumped in. She also remembers in the summer some kind of fruit dripping down her dirty arm.
Here is one from this sophisticated friend I can barely believe. She said she and her brother would be walking home and it would be hot and they’d be thirsty. They’d pass a yard with sprinklers not turned on. He taught her to put her mouth on the sprinkler head and suck on it and water would come out. Yuck, Denise!
We all remember Hide-and-Seek, Mother May I? and Red Light-Green Light.
Jodie, my sister, says she is now sitting on their deck in Ohio watching the lightning bugs. I’m about to go swimming with my husband, but not in the ditch. Does that count?
Come on, turn off that computer and get to living this summer.
Be sure to take a copy of Ebenezer and Ninety-Eight Friends up to the apricot tree with a cool glass of sun tea.