Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Summer Afternoons

“Summer afternoon – summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” – Henry James

The thoughts of a summer afternoon bring about a lot of memories for me. When I was a child summer afternoons were filled with fun activities; and those activities didn’t involve any sort of electronics!

One camping weekend
when it was exceptionally hot.
Even the adults weren't too proud
to get in a wading pool.
That's sister Sarah waving a greeting.
One of our camping weekends
where we got a "little rain" overnight.
Our family spent a lot of weekends camping. Many of those weekends we would see the same families over and over again, allowing us to make friends who didn't really live anywhere near us. There were always campfires, campfire pizzas and pies, smores, staying up late and running around with friends until our parents came to hunt us down and send us to bed. 

Sister Martha, playing badminton
at Grandma's camp in PA
One of the things my sisters and I liked to do was play badminton. We were the badminton Queens, at least that’s what we thought (and maybe we still do!). We spent hours in the road hitting that birdie back and forth. Yes, we really did play in the road. We were each responsible for watching for cars coming behind the other, which wasn't many where we lived.

Many summer afternoons at home were spent riding our bikes. We would make trails in the dirt along the side of the road or in the woods next to our house. We would make up our own traffic laws and obey them. We would sing, pretending our voices were the radios.

Swimming around the house
I think the one thing we spent the most time doing was swimming. My mom happily paid for the family pass to our community pool - getting us out of the house for a good part of the summer. That paid for swimming lessons and we could spend as much time at the pool as we wanted. The pool opened at 12:30. My siblings and I would bike the 4 to 5 miles there and then swim with friends until we had to be home at four. I think the only thing that kept us from the pool was thunder. Oftentimes we would stop by the library on our way to the pool and get new books to read while we lounged in the summer sun. Maybe that's why I still enjoy a good book by the pool!

Me and my mom at the Grandparents' camp in PA
with Pine "Crick" and the train trestle in the background.
Another one of my favorite summer activities was going to my grandparents' summer home. Grandma always called it P-A, saying each letter, since it was in Pennsylvania. Badminton was always one of our activities there, along with playing in Pine “Crick” (you have to say it like my grandma did), going out in the canoe, watching trains as they sped through the yard (literally), and playing drive-through restaurant through the sliding screen in the kitchen window.

How I long for the days of a childhood summer! We were truly carefree. 

This is what a carefree childhood summer looks like!

 So, what memories does “Summer afternoon” bring for you? I’d love to hear them.

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