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Sunday, August 19, 2012

Anniversary Blog Fest: Liese Sherwood-Fabre


A Few of My Favorite (Summer) Things

Growing up in Texas, summer was hot, hot, hot—but not in a good way like in the song. Despite the heat, summer’s unique features still made it special for me:

1) No homework! For three months (give or take), I didn’t have to worry about whether I got my report done or vocabulary words memorized. I could watch Walt Disney’s show without fretting about a Monday-morning deadline.

2) Sleeping late. This is a corollary to “no homework” and “no school.” Getting up when desired remains one of my greatest secret luxuries.

3) Summer camp. Starting in the seventh grade, I spent at least a week living in primitive conditions (i.e., no air conditioning!). Each year, I renewed acquaintances and enjoyed another of my secret loves--the yeast rolls served at lunch and dinner. I’ve never found their equal.

4) Choir trips. Our church had a very active hand-bell choir program and each year, we attended a regional or national festival. Before the national events, we toured between Dallas and the festival city, stopping at different churches to play a concert and then spend the night with a host family before heading to the next stop. I visited several sites I would’ve never seen otherwise—the Grand Canyon, the spring Ponce de Leon believed was the fountain of youth, and a replica of the first submarine developed during the Civil War.

5) Swimming. My mother never learned to swim and considered it imperative for her children to learn. Our local public pool offered lessons and while I’ll never be a gold-medalist, I can make to shore if the boat doesn’t sink too far away.

6) Cold watermelon. Is there anything sweeter or more refreshing when it’s 110° in the shade? (That is, besides air conditioning?)

7) Fresh peaches. We had peach trees in our backyard and summer meant having peaches on everything—your cereal in the morning, in homemade ice cream, in cobbler. To this day, I can’t eat the ones from the store because they don’t taste like the ripe ones picked straight off a tree.

8) Family vacations. My parents always struggled with money, but we could still pile in the car and drive north into Oklahoma or Kansas and visit relatives.

9) Daytime TV. In the days before cable, the shows were limited, but the afternoon included an old movie with “Dialing for Dollars” during the breaks. They never called our house, but I would have been ready with the amount if they had!

10) Six Flags over Texas. The original park was built outside Dallas, and we saved all year to buy tickets for the whole family. I can’t catch a whiff of creosote without being transported back to standing in line to ride the roller coaster.

Reviewing this list makes me realize how simple some of my memories of summer were—like peaches and watermelon—but how much they were a part of the simple joys I experienced each summer. What about you? What says “summer” to you?

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  1. What a great list! I was in San Antonio over the summer and it was hot but I loved the River Walk. I have one week before I return to teaching.
    debby236 at gmail dot com

  2. I love summer, hanging out in shorts and tank tops. The longer days are wonderful, you can get so much more done.

  3. It's funny: in the winter, I long for days when I don't have to wear sweaters, etc. Then about halfway through the summer, I wonder when I'll get to wear all those sweaters I love!

    And I can see the appeal of the river walk. I always like touring there when I go to San Antonio.

  4. Summer does mean a lot more work keeping the yard looking nice but it's also nice to sit on the back porch and watch the butterflies enjoying my butterfly bush!

  5. Wow, Carol! What a beautiful image!

  6. This summer has been crazy hot here! Lots of guests heading for our house/cottage to spend time at the lake! The dog will go in mourning when the cold weather hits! Cheers for a fun post, Liese! BTW - you had me at watermelon! Tweeted and shared for you.

  7. My kids grew up visiting 6 flags. I remember hoping the log roll would hit us with water and cool us off. It was a very hot summer here in Western NY, but weather is lovely now.
    Nice blog! Good luck on your story.
    Emma Lane

  8. Hi Liese,
    You sure do bring back the memory of summer and going to school my fun thing back then was staying up watching old horror movie and six pack diet dr. pepper and suzy-q oh boy those were the days no responibilty. Sigh!

  9. Those are great memories. Brought back a lot for me too.
    Sue B

  10. When I was a kid, we didn't go on vacations very much but we did take a Sunday to go up north (I'm from SE Michigan) maybe 2 or 3 times during the season. One would always be for picking blueberries in August. We'd have picnic lunches on a blanket if there were no tables. Whatever we did, we did it as a family so it was fun.

    kareninnc at gmail dot com

  11. Karen: My parents decided we couldn't afford vacations with hotels, so we would go camping. Looking back, I realized how much I learned about making fires and cooking over them at a young age.

    Enjoy the rest of your summer,everyone!


  12. Cold watermelons in the Summer is delicious! You've reminded me to eat some as soon as possible :)