“For the Love of Coffee Breaks” is a regular Wednesday feature on this blog dedicated to yesterdays – mine and maybe yours. When time moved a little slower, entertainment was found in our imagination, and socializing was done face to face. So please grab your beverage and snack of choice, slow down and enjoy.
Today it’s snowing a cold, wet snow here in Northern Michigan and that’s got me thinking about summer. But instead of dwelling on the types of summer I have nowadays where it’s over in a blink and more time was spent in the dirt of the garden than in the sand of the lake shore, I strolled down memory lane. Let me show you a day in the summer of my childhood.
Those summer days were endless, and hot. Funny though, the heat only bothered me when I was working. If I was playing, who cared if it was 95 degrees in the shade? Just give me day after day after day of hot sunshine, a good book, no school and life was good.
This particular summer Lil Sis and I were too young for jobs that paid money but old enough to stay at home alone when Mom and Dad went to work for the day. Every morning I’d get up shortly after they left and before breakfast I’d read Mom’s chore list that she left for Lil Sis and I. It would look something like this:
Hang out the clothes
Vacuum the living room
Sweep the kitchen and shake the rugs
Wash the dishes
Weed the sweet corn
Not a bad list, about an hour to an hour and a half of work depending on how weedy the corn was, but for some reason we’d make it last all day. Both of us would take our turn calling Mom at work; me to let her know that Lil Sis wasn’t doing her fair share and Lil Sis would let her know that I was being mean and bossy. Then I’d have to call Mom again to let her know that I wouldn’t have to be mean and bossy if Lil Sis would just do her share of the work. That took up quite of bit of our morning.
Being normal kids we left the worst chore for last – weeding the sweet corn. So it was afternoon and the sun was at its hottest when we’d walk out to the garden. It was a short walk but taken at the snail’s pace of dread, it took us a while. And we had to work ourselves up during the walk, “Oh it’s so hot!” “I itch all over; the bugs won’t leave me alone!” And so on.
|No, these aren't our rows of sweet corn.|
It just felt like ours were this long.
We usually had 10 to 12 rows of sweet corn, so Lil Sis and I would split the number of rows and start. We’d tug and tug at weeds that seemed embedded in concrete. We’d fight off spiders and run from bees. We’d talk a little, fight a lot, and complain in between. Just when I’d think that I couldn’t take another sweaty minute in the hot sun I’d realize that I only had one more row to go. One more?! Lil Sis and I would speed weed to the end. Once we were done we found our energy again and raced to the house. Quickly washing our grubby hands and calling Mom for probably the 11th time that day with the news. “Mom! We’re done! Can we have a popsicle now?” Popsicles, those frozen fake juices on a stick were exactly what two little red-faced girls craved. Mom would give her consent and we were off to fight over who got the last cherry or grape flavor. Orange and lime were for losers.
We’d sit on the couch sucking on our popsicles, our lips and fingers turning color to match the melting ice. Our sweaty bodies would relax and our day would take on a carefree air. We could do anything. I usually chose to spend my time reading a Trixie Belden mystery, wishing and dreaming that something slightly mysterious would happen on Youker Road. Just once. To this day I have no idea how Lil Sis spent her free time. I’m sure it was doing something dumb anyway.