The first major difference I've noticed is I AM OLD! Last night as I sat incredibly uncomfortably on a metal bleacher at Summer Shade Elementary watching my nephew play his last ballgame for the year, I was noticing how old I've gotten all of a sudden. Before leaving home, I was plucking random gray hairs from my head! I'd call it stress highlights. LOL! Then as Jimmie's cheering section sat there on the bleachers, I was in pain! Well, not really, but I would sit for a while, then move to the back of the bleachers and stand.My ever-opinionated niece Jessica laughed at me. I told her to "enjoy her youth while she is young" to which her response was a puzzled look and probably a familiar teenage eyeroll.
Another difference I've noted between the 1980s summers and today is the temperature. Maybe there is something to this threat of global warming because I certainly do not remember EVER being hot when I was out of school for summer break (which was much longer than now I might also note). I spent most summer days at my Mammie and Pappy's house which was air conditioned with windows up that had screens to keep the flies out and one ceiling fan in the living room, or front room as we called it. Today, it seems like we can't move the dial low enough to keep it comfortable in our air-conditioned homes.
I spent a lot of my time at Mammie and Pappy's not just during the summer but year round. Conveniently, they were just down the road. It's funny that now that she has gone on to her heavenly home, I realize all the little things she would do just for me and her other grandbabies. I never had a babysitter other than Mammie. And believe me, she was the best with her GREAT home cooking, singing all the time and soap operas in the afternoon! Whenever I spend the night with them, which was often and ALWAYS the day after I lost a tooth because the Tooth Fairy came to my house first and then visited me there even without a tooth under my pillow, Pappy would sleep on the couch so I could sleep in his bed with Mammie. He worked from sun up to sun down on the farm, but still would sleep on a beat up old couch to let me have his comfy bed.
All this recalling of days gone by makes me remember certain things that every summer I could be found doing like catching bugs. I would catch lighting bugs in a Mason jar at night. Poor things were always dead by morning though. I'd poke rolly-polly bugs with a stick to watch them roll up in a little ball. But June bugs were the most fun. I'd catch them and tie them up with thread. Then the fun started! They'd fly around in a circle on the end of the string. Such simple fun...... I can't remember the last time I even saw a June bug.
Other summer memories include going to 4-H camp with the "World's Greatest 4-H Agent" Mrs. Becky Radford. I learned to swim at camp and always wanted to go back if for no other reason than to get to go to the pool. Mrs. Becky also did lots of little things to make it extra special for her campers like giving us ice-cold watermelon behind the dining hall.
At home, I remember working a lot of the summer too. My brother and I always worked tirelessly to help raise acres and acres of tobacco. From pulling the plants, setting, the dreaded chopping, topping and cutting, we did a LOT of manual labor during those few summer months. I was also quite the entrepreneur with my tomato and corn business. We'd plant one end of the the entire length of the tobacco patch in tomato plants. When they were ready, I'd start early in the morning with my red wagon and many five-gallon buckets and pick tons of them. (By the way, to this day, I STILL do not eat tomatoes! Never liked them, probably never will.) Once I had my load for the day, I'd call in to the Swap Shop and put them on the air for sale at a whopping $5 per bucket. Bet you can't find them that cheap now. Later, when the super sweet Kandy Corn ears were ready to be picked, I'd sell some of those too, $2 per dozen. I made a lot of money those summers.
Today I wonder how you spent your summers? What special memories do you have?
In recognition of days gone by that we can never get back again, I've included a song that I really like. Hope you do too.