It’s almost full on summer here. The first of June marks the beginning of hurricane season here in the south.
I have my Grandbuddies for the next few days. Today I coaxed them outside to play in the pool with me. After a while, I retired to my lifeguard post at the patio table. I am overwhelmed by how much the world has changed in what seems such a short amount of time. Things seem so different now for this generation coming up. Their days are spent surrounded by technology that I could not have even dreamed of as a child. Unless kids live in a rural community they don't spend much time outdoors without a guardian. It leaves me a little saddened and nostalgic for my own childhood summer days. I share a chapter of them with you here.
I grew up in hot, sunny south Florida, where my summers as a young child were spent in the cool woods behind my Grandmothers house or on the white shell rock dirt roads in the front of our home. We played kickball, carved hopscotch in the dirt, climbed the malaleuca, mango or rubber trees in the yard. The neighborhood kids and I engaged in rotten mango or guava fights, a war that left your clothes stained and smelling of soured fruit.
On the weekends my single Mom took us to the beach. My brother and I were always allowed to bring a friend.
Sometimes Mom took us to spend days in a friends lake retreat on Lake Placid, Florida. Again, my smart Mom had us each bring our best friend to keep us occupied so it would be a rest for her. I loved the days we spent there. We jumped off the dock into the cool dark water early each morning and never came in until she called us for lunch. Then back out we went until the afternoon storms arose. This happened each day like clock work. The thunder clouds rolled in with a crash and boom, the wind picked up and our safe harbor took on a different landscape. White caps arose across the water and the rain would blow hard against the windows we watched from. Lightening stretched from the sky to the water all around the little lake house. We played board games or ping pong during that time and my Mom would provide snacks. Later, back out we went until Mom's call for supper rang out.
My friend Marci and I learned the beginnings of water skiing on that lake. I saw my first Cottonmouth, (or water moccasin) in those waters. Someone had shot it and the current eventually brought it to our side of the lake, where it appeared on our tiny beach, dead and fascinating to four children. After supper we were given a bar of soap and shampoo to bathe in the lake before bed. I still recall the smell of that shampoo and the thrill of doing something so out of the norm of life at home. As the suds dissipated and the current moved them on, we toweled off and donned our shorty pajamas. We made our way to the end of the dock, feet dangling above the water below and watched night fall across the lake.
The stillness of a lake at twilight as the day draws to a close is something magnificent to behold. A Holy quiet now settles in, the thickness of it leaves you in a state of reverence as you drink it in. Dragonflies appear skitting across the surface of the water, capturing mosquitos. Cicada’s and crickets call in the surrounding pines. ”Heat lightening” would appear, it was as though someone had flipped a switch and all at once the night sky was briefly illuminated. In the distance we would hear unknown calls that we would attribute to alligators or Florida panthers or whatever our imagination would cook up. Marci and I would scare the bejesus out of my little brother and his buddy Jackie, with these ideas. I accept full responsibility for these tales that were told and the fear inflicted on my younger sibling. It was eerily scary in the still dusk.
We fell into our beds early and were asleep as soon as our heads hit the pillows. Such is the exhaustion of childhood days spent in the sun and water. Awakening in the morning rearing to start this joyful bliss all over again.
I am thankful for those memories, for my childhood and those friends that enriched it. I am thankful for the era I grew up in. Above all, I am thankful for a Mother who made it all possible.
Enjoy your summer of memory making.
*If you have a fond summer memory, leave a post in the comment box or on the Facebook page.*