Before Air Conditioning
It is the leaves that tell us when summer arrives. When the maples oaks and ash leaves had grown past their spring newness and when I could look up and see dark bright green with specks of blue sky rather than a large blue sky with wisps of new green, then I knew summer had come to Hickory Lane.
In the morning I might play in the house with dolls or with drawing something until the inside became oppressively hot. Then I’d wander outside and dance around in the sprinkler until going inside seemed like the right thing to do. Maybe I’d visit the square grand piano in the downstairs living room and pick out a tune. I’d look at some children’s books with bright pictures and big print which wouldn’t tax my eyes, and when I’d had enough, it would be time for lunch.
Then came the afternoon when the sun made a golden green curtain out of the maple trees which lined the banks of the brook which chuckled its way across the front yard. It invited my sister and me to wade and play with our plastic canoes. I was content to sit on a rock and keep my feet cool in the water. I would trail my fingers in the small currents which surrounded the middle sized and large boulders embedded in the brook’s sandy floor, and I’d think that being six or eight or ten were just the best ages to be and that this summer day was something special to remember.
The evening was a little cooler, and dinner might have been served on the green picnic table. Ground steak patties and iced tea with fresh mint with crinkled leaves made a fine summer dinner, and dessert would have been a piece of chilled watermelon or maybe a rich home made French strawberry pie topped with whipped cream.
Since the evenings were long and light, I wanted to stay outside as much as possible. I’d find the tin bucket and red shovel and head for the sandbox. I’d dig sand holes, fill them with water, and remember what it was like to play on the beach at Cape Cod. Then I’d hear the church bells chime, just a little out of tune, and reluctantly I’d leave my pretend beach, hose the sand off of my hands and feet, and look out into the woods and see that the summer green of the leaves had turned to such a dark color they were almost black against an orange sky. I’d go inside for now it was bedtime and Mother would read me a story. Maybe there would be a glass of milk and a freshly baked cookie ready for me to enjoy.
If you would enjoy more vignettes from Hickory Lane throughout the seasons, please read my book Making Friends with Other Trees and Flowers – a Story of Low Vision and High Expectations.
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