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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Winding Roads:The summer that never was

Monday, July 27, 2009

I've been reflecting on past summers as a child when sweat was a common occurance. There were five kids in our family and we played a role in getting things done.

Work began with a large lot that was planted with strawberries and it was up to us to keep them picked everyday. When Dad would come home at noon, he'd walk out and take a short walk and if he fund no berries, that was a good thing, If he found 3-4, he'd say, "It looks like a few got missed." We made sure the next day was a better one.

Many times the folks would determine that a neighbor should be on the receiving end of getting some berries, and we would take them over to their house. The folks never wanted a cent for them. We'd think that they should have come and picked their own but the folks felt otherwise.

It was up to us to stem those berries and Mom would put them in freezer containers.

Although Dad worked 10 hours at the store, he always found time at noon to hoe the garden (a large garden it was). We got in on picking peas and beans. Mom would can beans but the peas were frozen. She made many jars of tomato juice as well as can whole tomatoes. She would pickle her beets and made several kinds of pickles. It seemed our kitchen countertops would always have jars sitting on them.

We also had a pear tree and the pears would be put in jars. She mainly made applesauce with the apples. We would get sent to our aunts to help pick cherries off the tree and those would get frozen. How we loved to pick cherries! She would also buy several boxes of peaches and cook them for placing in jars.

Mom was an excellent cook and baker. We'd go full steam in the morning but after dinner, we'd take an hour for rest before getting back to the tasks for the day.

I also recall pushing the lawn mower and I always wondered about the huge cracks in the ground when it was hot and dry. The neighbors had a plastic pool filled with water we enjoyed. Nothing huge but we didn't know any better.

Some days, even though the temperatures might be 90 or better, we'd get a game of ball going and choose sides. We'd get hot and then cool down with the water hose. To go swimming, we'd have to wait till late in afternoon before someone volunteered to take us out to the state park and swim in the lake. Man did that feel good!

I can't recall such a cool summer though as this one. It has been good for many of the flowers but I think our soybeans need some heat. I have a feeling that when school starts, the thermometer will rise. I was reminded of the fact that many classrooms now have air-conditioning. My, how times have changed,