Archives for posts with tag: summer

My office opens onto a deck through glass doors and windows. In the deck, about two feet from the door sits a large Sycamore tree, one that I hope to keep there for a long time although it’s leaning towards me more and more. I had the deck built around it because I love the shade of its big leaves.

There’s usually not much going on in the office, so the dogs are asleep and the cats are asleep either inside or out. But, sometimes, in all this tranquility, the dogs will leap to their feet in a frenzy, jumping in the air with excitement. If I’m there, I turn and see the cause…


…a frisky squirrel, who flicks his tail and chatters to torment them in every which way. He even peeks at me with an impish look, knowing the glass protects him…


He turns to watch the cat…


who is watching him, although not inclined to make a move. That will wait until he can stalk..


With the dogs at frenzy state, I open the doors for them to rush out, barking madly, jumping at the tree in excitement. The squirrel jumps on the roof and runs away, my big dog gives a sigh, and they all go back to what they were doing.

Such is excitement on a hot day…

As I sit in glorious air conditioning, I had an image of the summers when I was a little girl. I looked it up and they weren’t nearly as hot as today, but hot enough. Glad they invented air conditioning before global warming!

Our first air conditioners were window units and we only had one to begin with. It was in our den, so we spent a lot of time there playing board games and card games in the summer. But sleeping was another matter. Houses were built for circulation and we had fans and attic fans, so we opened the windows at night and laid on top of the covers spread eagle, waiting for a breeze. Sometimes there was no breeze at all and it could get miserable. Or the fans made it too cold and you had to cover up eventually. I don’t remember anybody I know having allergies so we just breathed in whatever the air brought and were grateful for anything that cooled us off.

In the house where I grew up, at least until I was about 10, we had a screened-in porch right off of my bedroom. Sometimes we made our beds out there in the summer or we slept under the stars. Anything to keep cool.

2501 S. Birmingham Pl.  Tulsa OK

We wore shortie pajamas in the summer and I can picture us sneaking outside to run in the dark yard at night, feeling the dewy grass between our toes, or playing cards on the bed.


I loved that house with its big side yard for playing softball or running through the sprinklers. I don’t see as many kids playing in sprinklers today, but there are great splash pads in the parks.

We also waited for Jack the Milkman to come by because he would chip ice for us to suck and sometimes let us ride in his truck for a block or so. The ice cream truck would come by with popcicles and ice cream bars for about a dime. We’d run to get our change when we heard the bell announcing his presence in the area.

We also traveled to Oklahoma City just about every weekend to see my grandparents and aunts, uncles, cousins there. We didn’t have air conditioning in our car or even the turnpike, so we drove old Route 66 with the windows down, arriving sticky at the least.

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When I went to my grandmother’s house in southern Oklahoma, Ardmore to be exact, we couldn’t wait to get there in the summer. She would make “squares” for us, which were Kool-Aid (just the powder mixed with lots of sugar & water) poured into ice trays and frozen. I’m not going to explain ice trays. We would get a bowl of squares and sit on her front porch, swinging on her porch swing, sucking on our cherry or grape squares (my favorites). Here’s a picture of my mother as a teenager in front of the house with the porch swing.

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It was hotter down south so we would walk to the ice plant and get chips of ice from them. Then we would try to catch the horned toads (or horny toads, as we called them) in the dusty yard.

Sometimes I feel like I grew up centuries ago with all the technology that has developed over my 67+ years. Hard to imagine how much has been invented in my lifetime and how much more comfortable our lives are.

But, sometimes, I’d like to swing on the porch swing with my bowl of squares and just enjoy the summer breeze, swinging as high as I could go.

My fascination with clouds goes all the way back to my childhood when my grandmother and my mother sang this song to me…

Two little clouds one summer’s day
Went flying through the sky.
They went so fast they bumped their heads, And both began to cry.
Old Father Sun looked out and said, “Oh, never mind my dears,
I’ll send my little fairy folk
To dry your falling tears.”
One fairy came in violet,
And one in indigo,
In blue, green, yellow, orange, red,– They made a pretty row.
They wiped the cloud tears all away, And then, from out the sky,
Upon a line the sunbeams made They hung their gowns to dry.

There was something so sweet about it or maybe it was the way they sang it. I can still hear them.


We didn’t have a lot to do in the summer in those days. We went to the swimming pool and I played golf from a young age, but there was a lot of time on our hands. We didn’t have air conditioning until I was in grade school…horrors! Actually, I wouldn’t trade air conditioning for much, so I’m not yearning for those good old days. We didn’t have television for a long time and, when we finally got it, it didn’t come on until late afternoon for the first few years. How old am I anyway?

We spent time in the yard and the neighborhood. We played workup with however many kids we could find and a softball and bat. We got stung by wasps and looked for earthworms, picked the flowers from the trumpet vine, sucked on honeysuckle and got into poison ivy. We looked for fossils in the gravel on the driveway since ours wasn’t paved yet. We looked for four leaf clovers and laid on blankets under the trees to stay cool. And we stared up at the sky, thinking and dreaming. What a luxury that time was and we didn’t even know it.

The clouds changed shapes as we watched them move across the sky. There were bears and dogs and monsters and angels. A canvas for our imaginations.

I took that fascination into my teens. Once, when I was about 16, I had a date with a guy who was a class leader…quite a deal to snag a date with him. I asked him about the clouds and he looked at me blankly. That was the end of whatever chance of infatuation there was with him. I couldn’t imagine being with someone who didn’t see anything in the clouds.

The first time I flew I was kind of disappointed with the inside of the clouds when I discovered they really are just fluffs of air. But then that became another fascination. How do they look so thick when there is so little to them.

Yesterday was a glorious summer cloud day, which we get when the heat comes in. They don’t show on radar, just popping up out of nowhere. Still fascinating.

You start with a cloudless day, a bright clear blue sky…


Suddenly you notice clouds exploding all around you…




They develop little wispy areas to soften the thickness…


And there is always the effect of the sunshine from beside them, around them, through them as the day goes on…




Obviously, I haven’t forgotten how to entertain myself outside. No matter where I see them, whether it’s in the city, out on the plains, up in the mountains, near lakes and oceans, or from the air, I always stop to watch. Clouds still make me smile, stir my imagination, and are just as mysterious and magical as I’ve known them to be since I was little. Heads up…don’t miss the great shows Nature sends us.

Just got back from a morning walk and remembered this piece I wrote for no particular reason 10 years ago. So much has happened since then, but a lot hasn’t changed. You can read this while I cool off…


I took a walk tonight – a small journey. I have lived in this house, this neighborhood, for less than a year. I moved from my big family house of 27 years to my small house for me. It is a nice neighborhood with homes from the 1940’s, a neighborhood of four blocks with distinct boundaries. There are older people and young couples with small children – a good mix. Some of the homes look small from the street, but they have been remodeled and rooms have been added and they can be deceptive.
I have always liked to walk – it makes me stand up straighter, get my arms and legs in synch, and let my thoughts flow free. I wasn’t walking too fast – but fast enough. Other walkers said Hi – we do that here. I waved to a young couple & their children who are friends of my kids. I got into my rhythm and let my mind flow to other summers, other walks. This summer has been mild so far – the hot Oklahoma sun has not begun to beat down, withering everything in its path. The night was pleasant, everything is green and smells fresh. I loved the air against my face.
I used to walk through the old neighborhood with my husband. At one time, I was trying to get in shape and we walked every day for months – maybe close to a year. He was obsessive – like a personal trainer. We would walk four miles every morning and three miles every evening. Just leave the kids and walk. And talk. I have no idea what we talked about – but we talked and talked – trying to keep breathing while we moved. Neighbors said they could hear our voices traveling up to their second story bedrooms in the early morning and they would know it was just us. People who saw us walking laughed. He was 6’4” and I am about 5’5”. About every block, I would do a little quick run walk to catch up to his stride. He just walked and I jump stepped to keep up. At least he didn’t have me jogging beside him. I don’t know if a run of bad weather or kids’ activities or what made us stop. Some excuse.
Tonight I walked just before sunset. It was light enough to see but the lightning bugs were starting to blink, bringing back memories of childhood summers chasing each other around in the dark, filling jars with holes punched in the lids full of the wonderful bugs, hoping to catch their magic. The bugs were talking – I remember June bugs from summer. We would catch them and let them walk across our hands – tickling us with their feet.
I walked through another neighborhood, past homes that used to occupy my childhood friends. A feeling of stability and continuance – I have been here and am still here. I walked on a street where I used to walk with a friend in high school as he threw his paper route.
I walked to move my body, feel my heart pump, my lungs breathe and my thoughts flow. I walked to get away and to come home.

Yesterday, I was in the swimming pool waiting for my granddaughter when a little boy floated by on an inner tube. I guess they’re not inner tubes anymore, are they? An inflatable ring? Anyway, a couple of bugs floated by and he was trying to get them away from him. They were June bugs. I picked them up and showed him that they weren’t going to hurt him and he got very curious, touching them and feeling the tiny stickers on their feet. I finally took them to the side of the pool.


I’m not much for bugs, but that brought a rush of memories of the days of summer when we went looking for June bugs, lightning bugs, Lady bugs. None of those were very threatening. We also listened for the Cicadias, calling them locusts, and collected their discarded shells along with those of the June bugs. There was something mysterious about the hollow brown bug-shaped shells. I don’t remember what we did with them other than collect a bunch of them. Maybe we crunched them…


We let the June bugs, lightning bugs and Lady bugs crawl on our hands, feeling their little steps go up our hands and arms before they spread their wings and flew away. That’s what we did in the old days for summer entertainment, back when your parents didn’t worry about what was going to happen to you outside and we walked and ran for hours, coming in only to get a cool drink of water. We sat in the grass, looking for four leaf clovers, threading the clover blossoms into chains that we wore around our necks. Today, they’re just weeds in the yard. I need to make a clover chain for my grandkids…would they just think that was weird?

Yesterday was also a milestone for one of my kiddos. My 3 1/2 year old granddaughter had taken swimming lessons last month and did ok, putting her head under, finally jumping off the side of the pool, doing a kind of water bug swim that was not much form and a lot of wiggling. Yesterday, it all broke loose and she turned into a water baby, the kind that can’t get enough. She leaped off the side and began trying to swim, trying to coordinate her arms and legs, a spontaneous burst of all those lessons. Within an hour, she was pushing herself from the bottom to swim, swimming under our legs (with a push to get her down far enough), and actually doing it so naturally you would have thought she always had. The best part was the absolute look of glee on her face as she jumped and as she came up out of the water…every time. I could see the summer fun ahead of her for the rest of her life. She had turned from a little one into a kid right in front of us. She found some goggles with one lens missing and the other one loose and a snorkel and she splashed off, taking another step into childhood.


Summertime memories are full of sunshine and bugs and swimming children…at least some of the best ones are.

Not much is more exciting than the first trip to the pool in the summer! My friend in Montana is still battling snow and in Oklahoma we’re sunbathing. Like everything else, your excitement varies along with your age. Watching the pure joy in my 3 1/2 year old granddaughter’s face was priceless.


The older kids are a little more blasé, especially the ones who have their own pool at home, but they still look forward to it. For the moms and dads, it’s a signal for a break from the school year routine, a break before the new summer routine. For grandparents, it’s just pure fun to watch your kids and grandkids enjoy fun in the sun together, whether it’s the pool, the lake, the ocean.

Of course, there’s the flood of memories that come with age…mental pictures of yourself as a child, your own children splashing in the water, the cries of “Mommy, Mommy, watch me,” repeated so many times that I still turn when I hear any child saying those words. Automatically. Strong conditioned reflex.

Today, my youngest grandchild is tall enough to go down the big slide…she ran to the measuring stick first thing. At 3 she remembered that from last summer. She’s tall, so she made it! I told her she had to wait for me to be at the bottom to catch her since she can’t swim yet. I forced myself into the icy water…it may be hot out, but the water hasn’t caught up yet…and stood there, waiting. A dad asked me if it wasn’t freezing in there and I told him I would only do this for a grandchild. YIKES! The look on her face as she approached the end of the slide will be etched in my heart forever. She did it!

But…dang it…that’s another milestone passed. They grow up so so fast! She’s be racing through each step of growing up at a pace I want to keep up with. I’m grateful for each step I get to share with these kids and their parents. Here’s to the fun times of summer and making memories for them to remember as they watch their own children and grandchildren. That’s how we roll…