Last Days of Summer

watermelon kids

Autumn doesn’t officially start until September 23rd, so we’ve actually got like six weeks left of Summer, on the calendar anyways, but when August begins, you start seeing the ads for school clothes and the countdown begins to the first NFL football games, so it feels like Summer is on it’s way out the door. Watching the first pre-season game this weekend, sitting in the air conditioning, it almost seemed like Fall was already here. Hearing the commentators that we’ve all become accustomed to on TV, the whistles blowing on the field, and the clash of helmets and shoulder pads, makes you think you can step outside and feel that cold snap in the air that signals the return of another hopeful season for your favorite team. Unfortunately, you will find many more hot, humid, late Summer days here in the Midwest during the month of August.
I remember as a kid starting to get bored about this time every summer. The happy-go-lucky days of freedom from school work that began in late May were turning into the boring sameness of long, hot days without structure and a longing to return to the company of my classmates once more. Of course, I grew up living in the country, so I couldn’t just run over to the neighbor’s house or down the block to a friend’s house to find someone to play with. It was just my brother who was one year older and me, and we were only allowed to watch cartoons for a couple hours on Saturday mornings, which by the way, were in black and white until I was 12 years old! So, we had to come up with our own ways to stay occupied and out from under Mom’s feet most of the day. I remember playing “Cowboys & Indians” where for some reason I was always the Indian who got captured and tied up. Then sometimes we played “War” and I got to be the bad Nazi who was blown up by a grenade. In our games of “Tarzan”, of course I had to be Jane, which in my brother’s opinion was second to Cheetah, whose part one of our hound dogs unknowingly played. As “Zorro”, I actually got to wear the mask and cape one time, and the reason I remember this is because on that particular day, I got stung by a wasp in the barn where I was practicing my swordsmanship. Oh, the joys of having a big brother who only had his little sister as a playmate during those long lazy days of Summer, and how I’d love to live even one of those days over again with him!
When I’d had enough of being his co-conspirator in all his “boy” games, I’d go play with my Barbie dolls for awhile, or find the kittens which we seemed to always have a litter of in the summer, and sometimes I’d dress them up in the doll clothes, too, but they didn’t like it much. I was mostly a tomboy, though, just as most country girls were, living on the back roads away from the “city” kids, as we called them back then. I was always ready for school to start and didn’t even mind riding on the bus an hour both ways clear up til my Junior year in high school. Mom would order us a new pair of shoes and some new clothes from the Sears catalog in August, when the sales came out, but a lot of times, I was lucky enough to get “hand-me-downs” from an older girl whose father my dad worked with. It never bothered me to wear second hand clothes. They were always in great shape and well taken care of, and I was proud to wear them. I hardly ever wore shoes much in the summer, unless we went to town, but I’d get a brand new pair of “penney loafers” or “saddle shoes” every fall, just for the school year.
We made do with a lot less back in those days, but I never felt deprived in any way. I was so proud of my hard-working dad who took the time after a long hot day to play catch or horseshoes with us and glad to have my mom home every day, cooking meals and keeping a clean house for all of us. Although we argued sometimes, I thought my big brother hung the moon. I sure hope Heaven is a lot like life on the back roads.

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