Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Welcome Back

The temperature is supposed to be 91 degrees all week long, and I sweated like a hooker in Sunday school when I ran at lunch yesterday. Glory Hallelujah brothers and sisters! Free at last. Free at last. Thank God Almighty I’m free at last from winter’s grip! My old friend summer is back, and I couldn’t be happier. Of course, the first official day of summer is still a few weeks away, but in Kentucky we go right from winter to sticky, humid days. I can break out the flip flops and do the dance of humidity because hot weather is here to stay for the next few months. Can I get an “Amen” for the sunshine, someone?

Summer reminds me of that old lover who was exciting but couldn’t commit and was hard to let go of. You know, the kind that regularly disappears abruptly when things get too good and then slips back into your life a few months later, knowing you’ll take him back because you can’t resist. A charming, elusive lover.

I haven’t enjoyed winter since, oh 1967.

Forgive the poor quality of this photo, but it’s the last official record of me having a good time in snow. Winter could pass me by, and I wouldn’t miss it. The coats, the boots, the chilly winds and dreary days. Give me sun, sun, sun. I’m like a lizard, the hotter it is, the happier I am. I truly am a summer baby. I was born in the middle of July, leaving mama to sweat and swell like a fat man stuck in a Yugo. Every year on my birthday she talks about how miserable she was the day she pushed me into this world. And how she ate six ears of corn and two tomatoes before she went to the hospital. It was hot, really hot the summer I was born. Perhaps that why I like the heat. However, I suspect it has more to do with the fact that some of my best childhood memories revolve around summer.
Stepping outside and smelling freshly mown grass brings those memories rushing back. Memories of climbing off the bus on the last day of school and running into summer vacation with outstretched arms. Memories of riding my bicycle along country roads for hours with the crunch of gravel under my tires and the smell of hayfields in my nose. Of running from the neighbor’s ornery bull who stepped over fences like King Kong. Of bicycle wrecks and skinned up knees and elbows. Memories of sunbathing on a towel to the jangle of my little AM radio while slathering on baby oil and QT tanning lotion. Of picking peaches at the orchard and helping mama to can and freeze green beans and tomatoes. Of picking blackberries and clawing at chigger bites for days afterward. Of playing Batman with my brothers and riding in the back of daddy’s blue pick up truck. Memories of tagging along with daddy to the old feed store where they sold ring bologna sandwiches and Orange Crush and hosted some wicked card games. Memories of chasing lightning bugs after dark and waving sparklers under a July moon until they burned my fingers.

There were picnics at the park, mischief with my Indiana cousin, pink birthday cakes, homemade ice cream, fish fries and cherry popsicles. Cut-off shorts, pony tails and bare feet. Brown shoulders, burned cheeks and dusty feet. Tube tops, tank tops, pop tops and Pop Tarts. And mowing. Lots of mowing. Mowing grandma’s yard with the crank start push mower and mowing our yard with the riding mower with the handlebar that came off in daddy’s hands while chugging across the yard one day. There were also the hours spent trying on clothes to be put in lay away for the next school year.

I love those memories. They sweetly wrap around my mind like overgrown honeysuckle in full bloom. They follow me during the summer months and warm my heart while the sun warms my face. I am smiling today because it’s the time of year when I trade my winter coat for a jacket of sunny memories that I wear daily. It makes me feel good, reeeeaaaal good. Welcome back, lover. I’ve missed you.


Mia said...


oreneta said...

What a spectacular ode to summer! I am with you 100%

Cruise Mom said...

Beautifully written, and so true! I still can't figure out why I'm living in the Northeast. It's 60 here today.