"It was just as hot when I was a kid in the South!" I remind them. And then I go into this long, old lady lecture about how we didn't have five hundred and seventy nine channels on the t.v., cell phones, XBoxes, iPods, computers and the worldwide web at our fingertips 24-7. No sirree. We had to make our own fun. Outside! And by gosh, we loved it!
And it never works. Though they do occasionally wander outside on their own before coming back inside to complain about the heat and the boredom.
It's just that, looking back, my most memorable, fond moments of Summertime are all about simple things and times had outside in the open air, sunshine and undeniable southern humidity and I sometimes feel that they are missing out on those things.
Oh sure, we spent our fair share of time inside on the Atari playing Pac-Man, in the floor playing Monopoly and Life, and on the phone telling Mr. So and So to go and catch his running refrigerator before it got away (Caller ID...what a buzz kill) and even watching The Days of Our Lives, General Hospital, Looney Tunes and old reruns of I Love Lucy, Bewitched and Gilligan's Island on our televisions but the very best times were always had outside.
And you can bet that if I was engaging in one of the following activities, I was happy, from the inside out...
1. Playing with the water hose, slip n' slide or in the kiddie pool in the backyard. Getting the opportunity to actually go swimming in a pool, lake, creek or ocean was a rare treat and one that was never, ever turned down. But that old faithful water hose was better than nothing and it was always there to get us through the hottest of summer days.
2. Catching lightning bugs aka fireflies at dusk. Although we poked holes in the jar lid before setting them in our rooms at night, they always died and I always felt such deep guilt so eventually, I stopped putting them in jars...just caught them and let them go.
|That's me, the little one in the dress, with my cousin, older brother and grandmother, Ollie Mae|
|Posing with the Pinto...Gotta love it!|
6. Eating watermelon on the picnic table. There was no better treat in summertime than biting into a juicy red slice of fresh watermelon and just getting all sticky with it as the juice ran down your arms. But swallowing a seed would fill me with overwhelming worry every time, until I got old enough to realize that swallowing a seed was not going to grow a watermelon vine out of my rear end or belly button!
8. Camping out under the stars in the backyard. You couldn't pay me to sleep out there with no shelter now but I was all about it as a kid. I think we once slept on lounge chairs and carried every stuffed animal I owned out there with us. We were girly girl tomboys, I guess.
9. Eating Popsicles, of any kind, but especially homemade ones or as we called them at my babysitter Mrs. White's house, Pop ups, which is what we also called Pop-Tarts. I have no idea why. I mean the Pop-Tarts made since because they "popped up" out of the toaster but I never knew why we called the Popsicles that too. Hmm...
|Myrtle Beach, 1979. That's me rockin' the kickass Wonder Woman suit|
So what about you? What did you love most about summer when you were growing up?