Thanks Tom, for another great idea for your monthly theme of “It’s the Little Things”!
Listening to the neighbor kids laugh and squeal the other night, my cousin was over and asked my husband and I if it bugged us, to sit and listen to other people’s kids hootin’ and hollerin’. I thought about it and said it didn’t, because they were having fun outside, just being kids, and not indoors playing video games. I thought back to my own childhood, and remembered how much fund it was when we used to play “Starlight, Moonlight” and “Kick the Can” and all sorts of other games, some real, some we made up, like the “Run Around the House Game”. I don’t recall the rules, but it involved running around the outside of either my house or my friends house. We stayed out late, until mom’s voice called us home, sometime close to dark. Sometimes she would even have to call down on the phone (a real one!) to my friend’s house, and tell them to send me home. It was only about 6 or 7 houses away from ours, not very far, but around a curve so if it was after dark, she would watch for me. The yard light would be on, and she would be on the porch, waiting. Remember yard lights? Not house lights, but lights out in the middle of the yard? You don’t see a lot of those anymore.
And it was HOT. Holy crap. We didn’t have central air, only a big window AC in our dining room, so that it was comfortable in the evening where we sat, but not in the bedrooms so much. So at night, AC went off, and windows opened, and the box fans went into the windows, moving the nice, hot, sticky air around. Because that helped so much. If it was really ugly we could sleep in the finished basement. It was much cooler there, oh yeah. So instead of hot and sticky, you got cold and clammy. Hmm. Sometimes we’d sit up in bed, and make funny noises into the fan, because it was just hilarious listening to our voices change against the sound of the fan blades. When you’re little, it doesn’t take much.
As a kid, I felt like summer was magical. Fireflies and fireworks, sparklers and bottle rockets, sandboxes, swingsets and tire swings. We biked up to the 5 and dime, and got some penny candy, or to Brown’s Farmers Market, a little place nearby that was family owned, along the highway frontage road. They knew all of us kids by name, and it was just the coolest thing to get candy there, or an ice cold pop from the dispenser. I loved old Mr. Brown.
I remember pulling carrots out of the ground, wiping them on our shorts and just eating them, right there, or pulling an apple off the tree at grandmas, polishing it on my pants, and digging in. Garter snakes were no big deal, neither were worms. We drank from the hose, and yep, there was a metallic taste to it. I ain’t dead yet. We got into our swimsuits, and ran through the sprinkler for hours at a time, and thought it was wonderful! My sisters and I below, in our backyard.
I was lucky too, being a July baby, my birthday fell in the middle of summer, when everyone was bored out of their minds and ready for a PARTY! That’s me in the middle for my 6th birthday (and my kid sister directly in front of me), with the lovely glasses and striped top. I love how our moms put all of us in dresses back then.
And I swear, watermelon tasted so much better then. I wish I could find seeded watermelon now. While seedless is easier to eat, the hybridization process removed the flavor…it just doesn’t taste the way it did. And let’s face it, seed spitting is part of summer too and now children are deprived of that.
Here I am, second from left, with the neighbor kids. I’m thinking it must have been a chilly day that day.
Happiness doesn’t need to come from big stuff, we’ve just allowed ourselves to become overwhelmed by the details of life. It’s the little things, really. Let yourself find them again.