Saturday, July 26, 2008

oh, for rainy summer days

This beastly hot summer has set me reminiscing about those blissful childhoods of summer.
Of course my childhood was long before there were so many organized sports teams, actual play dates for kids, gymnastics, adventure camps...
Well, you get the idea.
Summer back then stretched out in front of you like an endless vista.
You pretty much knew that, aside from the chores that were inevitable, there weren’t going to be any rigid schedules to follow.
And if you were smart and mowed the lawn, pulled the weeds and helped pick whatever was ripe that week in the garden and got it all done in the morning, the afternoons were going to be your own.
In my case that might mean escaping for hours in the far reaches of one of our fields on my pony. My one sister and I loved to saddle up our trusty steeds and pretend to be the “Hawk Boys” or some other heroes or villains.
And our mom never had to worry that someone was going to appear out of nowhere and spirit us off.
Or perhaps we’d walk up the road to the little general store and buy a soda or some candy; and some days we’d be really fortunate and get dropped off at the pool in Harleysville for a few hours.
Of course there were books to read, animals to play with, coloring books to fill and the much-anticipated sleepovers.
Provided our work was done. And make no mistake, there was a good amount of that when you grew up on a small farm.
But I don’t remember feeling rushed or stressed out about some overwhelming schedule. Or fretting about how I was going to fit in all of my activities; after all, 4-H was basically the center of our extracurricular interests.
I imagine there were plenty of extremely hot days back then, too, just like this summer.
But when you lived in a farmhouse with those thick walls and could play outside under the trees, you didn’t seem to notice as much.
And my favorite of all were the days when you were blessed by gentle rainfall. I still savor rainy summer days, but they seem few and far between today.
But they were sweet, I know. The temperatures were cooler; perhaps you made indoor “forts” or played with paper dolls (do they even still make them?); and you just felt like you were given a vacation within a vacation.
Often we’d haul out our horses, cowboys and other small toys; create intricate towns and ranches; and, of course, convince our mom that they had to stay just where they were for days on end.
But the best part was hearing that rain, feeling those cool breezes through the old, big windows and letting your imagination transport you to some magical spot you created.
No DVDs, no Xbox games, no computers.
Those summers ran on dreams, imagination and, on lucky days, the soundtrack of summer rain.

No comments: