Now that it’s full-out summer (though I realize that it doesn’t officially begin until June 21) and we are getting some sunny days in between rain showers and thunderstorms, I have been thinking about how much I love the warm weather and the sunshine. I always have. I always will.
I’m blessed, therefore, to have a house in Denver where we can enjoy the usually-beautiful Colorado summer days and a house in Arizona where we can avoid shoveling snow.
But my thoughts this week were about summers in the past, and glorious memories they have left in my mind. Here are a few….
A&W Root Beer
We weren’t particularly a family of pop drinkers. In fact, every night it was my job to make a pitcher of Kool Aid for the kids to enjoy with our meal. It was my job because Mom used ahead-of-her-time psychology by telling me I made the BEST Kool Aid of all the kids so that I was always eager to show off my SKILLZ! In fact, my so-called SKILLZ included a package of Kool Aid, a cup of sugar, and an orange or lemon cut in half and squeezed into the pitcher. Voila. But I digress. Though we weren’t a pop-drinking family, very often in the summer we would make our way to A&W, a good 10 minute drive through town to Highway 81 near the viaduct. There we would turn in our big empty jug that had formerly contained A&W root beer and get a new one. A glass gallon jug full of delicious creamy A&W root beer, freshly pumped from the tap. It was indescribably delicious.
On summer nights when we weren’t heading to A&W, our family could often be found at the Zesto. Zesto was a locally owned ice cream parlour that had a walk-up window where you ordered your treat. Most of the time I ordered a vanilla cone dipped in chocolate, but occasionally I ordered a vanilla cone dipped in a mixture of peanuts and toffee and sprinkles. To this day, I think nothing says summer evening more than ice cream.
One of my favorite summer traditions was sitting with my family on our front porch enjoying the warm evening. We lived on an avenue that was relatively busy as it had few stop signs. I say relatively because Columbus was pretty small, so traffic was actually minimal. We didn’t have a big front porch with a porch swing or any such accoutrement. Instead, we all (including Mom and Dad) just sat on the steps and watched cars drive by. When we were small, we might play a game of kick the can or some sort of evening activity with our neighborhood friends. Every other Saturday, we awaited the arrival of the mosquito sprayer. This big truck fogged the area with some sort of chemical which undoubtedly contained DDT. I don’t remember anyone being particularly troubled by the spray. We might go inside for a few minutes, but not because we were worried about our safety but only because it smelled bad. Can you imagine? And now we’re not even supposed to use spray sunblock for some reason or other.
Doo, Doo, Doo, Lookin’ Out My Back Door
My first boyfriend came along around my sophomore year of high school. As soon as he got his drivers’ license and saved enough money, he bought a Jeep. Not a fancy Jeep, but the old-fashioned Jeep Willys, used from God only knows where. There are two rivers that flow past Columbus – the Loup and the Platte rivers. When the rivers were low, we would drive the Jeep down to one of the rivers, ride the bumpy river banks, and listen to music that blared from his eight-track player. Because the only music I can recall listening to was Creedence Clearwater Revival, I suspect that might have been his only tape. I will tell you however, I can’t hear a CCR song without thinking about our rides on the river in the Jeep.
Every July the Platte County Fair came to town. Previous blog posts have told you that I am terrified of roller coasters and other scary rides, but man, I LOVED the fair. We would go one or two times during the few days that the fair was in town, and always at night. Because you see, for us it wasn’t particularly about the rides. It was about the lights and sounds. That calliope music and the ferris wheel lights you could see from blocks away.
And speaking of summer sensory memories, every Sunday night brought the running of the stock cars. I wrote about the stock car races in a previous post. You can read it here. I still can vividly recall the sounds and the smells associated with the stock car races. Even the rare Sundays we didn’t attend, we could hear the sounds of the cars in the distance.
The feel of summer is different when you’re a kid, but summer will always remain my favorite season.
What are your favorite summer memories?