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Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Summer Memories by Bea Tifton

Rain Trueax is in a non-Internet zone, so she has graciously allowed me to fill in.

Ahhh, summer in North Texas. That blistering heat that just sucks the life right out of me. I tend to do a reverse hibernation in summer because as an adult, I am prone to heat exhaustion. I stay inside, treasuring the fact that in the modern world we have air conditioning. The man who invented AC should have gotten a Nobel Prize.  Even running errands requires hydration and fortitude. But it wasn’t always that way. As a child, summer breaks were longer than they are now, and carefree. My mother didn’t overschedule us to death. We were allowed to roam, barefoot and half feral. By the end of the season, I could have stepped on a nail and it wouldn’t have gone through the tough soles of my feet. We would come in during the hottest part of the day and rest up to go out again as soon as the midafternoon heat lifted. 


When I was very young, we lived in East Texas along the banks of a beautiful lake. A creek ran past our house and we had a big yard. Ah, paradise. In my family, the words, “I’m bored” were forbidden. When one thing paled, we simply found something else to do. We had more freedom than children do now, albeit with a healthy dose of stranger danger just in case. We rode our bikes without helmets along the street or on bike paths children had worn through the pastures and vacant lots. If we had been very good and Mom was in a mellow mood, we were allowed to ride all the way to the Snap E Jack for some candy. I explored the creek and the lake, playing with ladybugs, turtles, and tadpoles. My sister and I would entice the occasional crayfish to come out of his hole by dangling bacon on a string. We always let them go, but they were such funny little creatures that we were fascinated by them. Minnows in the lake, caterpillars and cocoons on our plants, playing war with cattails; the world around me was my summer science lesson. My father patiently answered my questions why and how, occasionally referring me to our set of encyclopedias for answers. We swam to keep cool and roller skated without knee pads. 

 We moved to Florida when I was nine. We lived on a wooded lot surrounded by citrus groves. My friends and I would make pretend houses outside in their yard. We would get things no one wanted anymore, and furnish it with fascinating odds and ends.  It wasn’t wooded in their neighborhood, so not as many snakes.  And Florida has snakes. They would sun on the doors of our covered porch, so we would have to push it open and jump back, waiting for the snake to fall and slither sleepily and grumpily away. They would lurk in the palmetto bushes and drop down from the trees. I developed quite a phobia, but I never got bitten. We had an enclosed pool and I would spend hours swimming, pretending I was a mermaid.

When we moved to Texas suburbia, we lived close enough to an amusement park to get seasons passes. My mother would drop off a pair or a group of us, let us spend the day there, and pick us up again, hot, sunburned, smelly, tired, and happy. We would roller skate in my neighborhood for hours, down hills that scare me to death to think about it now, and we would ride my bike or shoot hoops at the nearby elementary school. 

It’s ironic that I spent so much time outside and now I hide in the comfortable, cool spaces in my house. But I have many great memories of summer. As hot as it was, a popsicle or a run through the sprinklers would cool us off. Then we were ready to go again, off into the world.

Do you have good memories of summer? Leave a comment below. 


Photo Attributes: 

Bare Feet: “Summer is Good for the Sole” G F Peck Visual Hunt

Turtle: Blake and Becca Visual Hunt

Ladybug: Carplips Visual Hunt

Mermaid: Annette Batiste Day

Roller Skating: “Children at a Roller Rink” Simpleinsomnia Visual Hunt

Popsicles: Jason Trumm Visual Hunt