Summer is better when you're a kid

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One of my favorite memories is of a humid, downright sultry summer evening in the Ozarks at my grandparents' small whiteboard house situated on the outskirts of town. My grandmother was either lonely or having a crazy spell because she allowed me and my cousins to spend the night at her house.

We spent the evening lazing on the porch swing; wading in the creek across the road; walking up the holler and catching fire flies on our way back. She picked honeysuckle blossoms from her yard and showed us how to eat the nectar from the blossom. She gave each of us girls ten Bugle chips and showed us how to put them on the tips of our fingers to make witches' fingernails.

We ran barefoot in the yard until it was too dark to see in front of us and the cacophony of frog grunts and chirping crickets matched the decibel of our own voices. She threw us each into the bathtub, let the girls use her body powder, and gave each of the boys a dab of Grandpa's cologne from the bottle which sat on his dresser next to his Bible and John Deere hat.

We climbed under old, but sweet-smelling sheets right in the middle of her living room floor. Grandpa was out hunting so she stayed up to watch the local news until the last of us was asleep.

There was an aesthetic to that night that I've since tried to replicate within my own household. People in my family remember Grandma a lot of different ways, but that's how I remember her.


So, have you been successful at recreating that feeling? I'm always trying to do that...not replicate childhood events, but give the things and traditions WE do that kind of feeling.

I always feel like I've not quite got it right. But, I'm willing to bet that our kids will have that feeling from these times.

Maybe I've just forgotten how to be a kid.

This post made my heart happy.

It reminded me of the summers I spent with my mammaw in a little bitty cotton town in West Texas. We chased horny toads in the garden, made mudpies and cut out paper dolls, ate fresh peaches sprinkled with sugar in old foil pie tins, cranked homemade ice cream, and by the end of the day we were so covered in red dusty dirt that she'd hose us off before giving us a bath.

I had Bugles for lunch yesterday and did the witches' hat trick.

Our family traditions kind of took on a life of their own. Actually, our kids have been largely responsible for creating them. When there is a birthday we sing 4 different versions of birthday songs. Yesterday, being my birthday, they sang them all on video chat. Not quite the same but I'm not complaining. It's fun to build those moments of family community and watch them develop over the years. Even more so when the kids themselves put the "wings" on them and make them fly.

My childhood summer memories are often triggered by sounds and smells. The song of the cicadas reminds me of playing hide and seeks in the dark until my mom called us in for the night. The smell of honeysuckle reminds me of playing on the old swing set in my parent’s backyard. They had a great crop of honeysuckles every year. The water coming out of the hose has a certain smell to it that reminds me of the metal kiddie pool we used to swim in when we couldn’t get to the "big pool". These things always bring a smile to my face. I can only hope that my kids will someday experience sounds and smells that trigger wonderful summer memories of their own.

Loved this entry. I remember summers with my grandma, too. The cousins and I would play hide and seek in the dark, we'd pick peaches from the peach tree in the backyard to make cobbler, and eat it with vanilla ice cream. Bologna also makes me think of Grandma, because she'd fry it up in a pan, and we'd eat it together. I never walk by bologna in the grocery store without remembering Grandma. Thanks for helping me remember...Times were so much simpler then...

I could see and feel everything you wrote about. I had very different, urban grandparents, but I bet you the smell of those sheets was very similar.

i never knew my grandparents. only knew my mom's dad for a short time when i was five. makes me sad. this post is why. something about grandparents and what they do for you....oh well, in the next life....

Funny how sometimes it's in the not trying when we most keenly re-experience a childhood memory.

I never thought I'd use this phrase, but your story here reminds me of "the good 'ol days." During the summertime, I remember running around outside, barefoot, and having the time of my life. My friends and I would ride bikes all day, either around the neighborhood or in the woods, just seeing what kind of trouble we could get into. Eating banana popsicles and orange push-up pops, and my grandmother yelling at me "Quit coming in and out! You're letting all the air conditioning out!" We'd pop tar bubbles on the road with our toes when it seemed like it was a billion degrees outside and come home with black feet. You always knew it was time to come inside when the street lights came on, and you'd best be home by then, or you were getting a swat on the legs with the fly swatter.

I don't really think my step-sons (teenagers) really understand what its like...they are gamers and the first place they come is in the house when its too hot. My daughter (she's 8), on the other hand, comes in only to eat or get a drink, and she's out again, running around with her friends. Sometimes I think she's going to have to spend the night in the tub because she comes in so sweaty and filthy. She comes in complaining about having to come in most days. I think she's the only kid in the house who really understands what summer is all about...and I'm glad at least she'll have that experience to pass on to her kids ;o)

That was the life, most definitely!

When Constance asked for Valentine,montblanc montblanc , however, a footman informed her that Madame had gone out. And when Mathieu in his turn asked for Seguin, the man replied that Monsieur was also absent. Only Mademoiselle was at home with her betrothed. On learning this the visitors went upstairs.

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