Friday, June 3, 2011

The Long Hot Summer

At a time when most people are busy planning vacations, picnics, boating and swimming parties, I’m staying inside with my new best friend – Air Conditioning. And I’m not going anywhere unless a member of my family, or a close friend, loses a limb or worse! All I can think about is the long hot summer ahead.

I’m talking about the next three months: 90 days – give or take a few – 2,160 hours, 129,600 minutes! I’m almost certain a root canal would be preferable to my having to endure 90 degree plus days for that long. My husband just informed me that it’s not going to be that hot for the next couple of days. “It’s only going to be 85 degrees,” he said. “Gee, thanks!” I said. “That 5° will help so much!” That didn’t change my mind. I’m still not going out of the house until it's cooler. And that’s that!

I wonder why – in relating our childhood memories of summertime fun, we never once speak of intense heat. To hear us tell it, summers were “all good” when we were kids. Perfect! But were they really?

My mother-in-law often quoted a wonderful truism. She said, “God has a way of removing the bad memories, or at least softening them, and leaving only the good ones!” Then she’d say, “How could we survive, if we kept reliving all the bad things that happen in our lives?” She was a wise woman. What a shame I didn’t realize that until she was gone.

Looking back, I can remember several unpleasant events that took place in the summers of my young life. One summer night, while sitting on our porch swing – a place that frequently shows up in my stories – I was thinking about the picnic my family had planned for the next day at New River. We had established a favorite place there and returned to it every summer. We’d park the car and walk a downhill path through the woods to the river. 
All along the riverbank, there was nothing but rocks. Huge rocks. My father would select the smoothest one and claim it by setting our cooler and other belongings there. Then we’d take a dip in the cool, rippling waters of the New River. It wasn’t very deep, but refreshing just the same. We loved it! But it didn’t take much splashing around before we realized we were hungry and ready to enjoy the fried chicken and potato salad my mother had gotten up early to fix.

So, with towels wrapped around our shoulders, we’d eagerly pitch in and help get the food ready. My mother would spread out a large tablecloth – one that had felt on the back and was plastic-coated on the front. Then we’d get the food and drinks out of the cooler and have ourselves a good old-fashioned picnic right there in the summer sunshine. I suppose our wet bathing suits and wet hair kept us cool for a while. Actually, the sun felt good.

And so... as I was sitting there on the swing, legs propped up, anticipating the fun we’d have tomorrow, suddenly, the swing tilted backwards and I fell head-first on the porch. My hair was pinned up in the back with a plastic ponytail clip. It came undone and the end of it jabbed into my head. At first, I was stunned, but not too stunned to know I was bleeding. Profusely!

Check in tomorrow for the rest of the story.


Anonymous said...

Great story peg. Can't wait to hear more.

sam said...

Are you really not going out until its cooler? that could be a while. good luck. sam

Bob said...

Your posts are always so entertaining. I can't wait to hear the rest.

sandi said...

Oh what a place to leave us. please finish it early in the day. Don't make us wait till late tomorrow night.