Summer of 1972.....I was twelve years old and as carefree as I could be. In those days we would roller skate, ride bikes, play with the water hose and climb trees. My sisters and brother and I would play outdoors nearly all day.....or until the heat drove us in during the middle of it. But once the afternoon breezes began, we were back outside again. I don't know if this delighted mama or drove her crazy trying to keep up with all five of us. (Baby number six wasn't born yet.)
Dusk was a magical time of day. The Martins began swooping in eating their fill of mosquitoes, the crickets began singing their songs and the fireflies began wooing potential mates while lighting the skies. OK, so there weren't that many fireflies, but wasn't it just the highlight of the day to grab a Mason jar and capture a couple of fireflies, sit them by your bed and watch them light the room with a faint glow until you fell asleep. Boy, those were the days.
I think that summer was my last carefree summer where all the problems of the world was cared for and solved by the adults in our lives. Nothing seemed too difficult for our mama. Without as much as a hint of a complaint, she would plant and harvest a garden, make all our clothes on her pedal foot Singer sewing machine and cook and clean. She was always busy and seemed like she was always in the kitchen. As busy as she was, though, she allowed us to be children....except for the times she made us shell butter beans. Gah, we hated that. She finally started paying us 10 cents a quart to shell them. That helped.
Back then, we may not have had all that we wanted, but we certainly had all that we needed. We had a roof over our head, clothes on our back and food on our table. And we had long summer days to play and expand our imaginations.
Times have certainly changed since that summer, long ago. I wonder if children today really know the joy of 'playing outside'. Sometimes, I wish we could go back to the days of no computers, no cell phones and no video games. I don't mind progress, but I sure mind it when it takes away such a neat part of growing up where memories are made in the yard, under the trees, on slip and slides, squirting the water hose and scratching on the screens at night to scare the bejeebies out of your sisters.
Ummm, yeah, I confess to doing that. We slept with the windows open and I caved to the temptation, multiple times. Ha! Just hearing one of my sisters scurry out the room to mama sent me into a quivering heap of giggles on the dewy grass below. And then, mama would come to the door and call me in. Like I said before, those were the days.
So, this summer our grandchildren, Lidia and Sawyer, are spending a lot of time with us. Maybe we don't see fireflies much anymore, but there are trees to shimmy and fish to catch, there are rocks to climb and waves to ride, there are roads to bike and water hoses to squirt and we intend to let their imaginations run wild, all on their own.....until the heat drives them in or the dark beckons them to scratch the screens.
These will be the days!