I Love Summer…

[Previous Rural Farmgirl, April 2009 – May 2010]
I just do! I love driving with the radio blaring, windows rolled down, feeling like there isn’t a care in the world. I am the “best me” in the summer. Although I don’t particularly like the heat, I love the rhythm of summer…the backyard barbecues with friends, the farmer’s market, and spending time

This summer has seemed a little weird since my son Cole isn’t playing summer baseball. He has been in summer baseball since he was old enough to stand and he’s really, really good. I like to think that he got that from me; I tore up the softball diamonds in my day. So when he decided not to play this year, I was a little torn. Summer without baseball…how could that be? For as long as I can remember baseball has been a part of our summers. Even when I was growing up my mom was a great softball player; her brother Spike (my uncle) was a “hot-dog” player as well. My husband Tom and I belonged to a church league, and being a mom of four boys, I have spent a lot of time sweating it out at all-day round robin tourneys and loading stinky boys into the minivan for that horrible trip home.
But with no baseball games this summer, there is more time for some of my other favorite summer pastimes, like exploring the back roads. I am happy on the road; it just makes my heart sing. I believe that, too, is a family thing. My dad and my uncle Mark will drive anywhere, anytime, just for a five-minute visit. So I come by it naturally. I love packing my camera and hitting the road. And being the maverick that I am, I prefer to go it alone, meeting up with folks on the beaten path. I love that I can stop anywhere, hike in and get the best picture, not having to worry that I am annoying someone. There is no one else’s schedule—just me, the open road, the camera and my car radio blaring. Family road trips are more frustrating to me, as my hubby is more of a “conqueror” kind of traveler who loves to say stuff like, “Yeah, we drove 600 miles without stopping.” I stop every two miles, and I am proud of that. I am less of a “destination” kind of a girl and more of a “journey” kind a girl, I guess.
Then there is sleeping outdoors. I love finding a shaded spot, with a slight breeze blowing in the sweetest of fragrances. In my neck of the woods you can get a whiff of the grapes that fill the valley and just a hint of the nearby lavender. I love grabbing my favorite summer read and an old quilt and finding a shade tree. Summer is the only time of the year that I read novels; the rest of the year I spend with three or four books open, usually something Michael Pollan or something equally worthy. But in the summertime it has to be a novel, a really great classic, romance-type novel like Gone with the Wind or something by Jane Austen. I will even dig out an old copy of Anne of Green Gables for the thousandth time or my tattered children’s book Flicka. I can’t say that I get much reading done in those moments. It takes me all summer to read one, since I tend to want to shut my eyes and listen to the many sounds off in the distance, a symphony of my own written for just that moment in time.
Oh, and we can’t forget summer concerts, those magical spaces in time where strangers can for one moment connect on such a soulful level. Last year it was my all-time favorite male singer Michael McDonald (who is just as brilliant today as he was back in the Doobie Brother days), Martina McBride and Shedaisy to name a few. We also came across a few lesser-known bands that we adore. It seems that every community has a summer concert series, and you just haven’t lived until you have taken them in. For me, music in the summer has its own beat. It sounds and resonates differently and is more readily absorbed during the summer months for some unknown reason.
Barbecues with friends are the best. The food tastes better for some reason. No matter how rough the week has been, the laughter of a backyard barbecue is the perfect medicine. And of course there is always the garden. Little else is better than walking out and grabbing a fresh tomato, cucumber and some lettuce for lunch; nothing you can buy in the stores can even begin to touch it.
If I had to choose one season as my ultimate favorite time of the year, I suppose it would be summer. I think it speaks to that part of me that is a maverick. Summer means wide open roads, big skies and a day full of potential…a day not limited by inclement weather, darkness or whatever. I love summer.

  1. Suzy says:

    Another great story Rene’, I love how your writings put pictures in my head , you don’t need photos. I have always loved music that does the same. (also a big Michael McDonald fan from way back). We were finally able last fall to build a 50 by 30 foot barn. It has become the favorite spot for all our family and friends get togethers this summer. Even when it rains it’s fun to be in. We hosted a family reunion this summer and many wrote thank you notes saying how our place was a little piece of heaven.We cooked out, and I agree food just tastes better outdoors.Keep those great stories coming. Love to all, Suzy (Texas)

  2. David says:

    Dog days of summer. Ah how those memories flood back. Summers were the greatest especially since there was no school and the swimming pools were open. Friends and I would ride our bicycles hundreds of miles in the summer just for fun. Any wooded area was open game for exploring, playing hide and seek, playing war, or just hanging out telling scary stories. Oh, yes and I can’t forget the couple months spent on my Uncle’s farm each year helping with hay baling, stealing eggs from those broody old hens, chopping chuckle burrs out of the corn by walking the rows or getting to visit the auction barn where livestock were bought and sold.

    The absolute best part of summer was those days when Grandpa would take me Carp fishing. Sitting on the bank with him was the best. Like you, Rene’, sitting under the shade tree enjoying the warmth of the day, dreaming about all the wonderful things of life, waiting in anticipation of the tinkling bell indicating that a fish was on the line just made life so enjoyable. I don’t know that we ever caught that many fish, but just being in nature, listening to the moving water sounds, chirping birds, and rustling tree leaves meant to me everything in my world was as it should be. There’s just nothing like a good day spent in nature to calm the spirit.

    I have experienced many endings of one season of life and beginnings of another. I have found that each can be filled with joy and memory building events. I enjoy each day for what it is as there will never be another like it.

    Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams. ~ Ashley Smith

  3. Elaine says:

    Ah Summer! Here in the ‘Great White North’ summer is like a beacon that draws us all into the outdoors just as soon as the snowbanks thaw,and keeps us out there well after the first frost.I agree, food is so much better when it is picked fresh and eaten outdoors.There is nothing that elevates the lowly hot dog like cooking it outside over an open fire, and if the onions are from the garden and the relish is home-made from last years’ garden, so much the better!
    I know I intend to enjoy every sparkling moment of summer,I know you will too.

  4. Gary says:

    Good Bloggie Rene…!
    Y’all have many warm Memories of Summer breezes with laughter and Joy in the air together, and that’s what makes those Memories so Special… "Togather".
    My Family had a section of the yard, between the Garden and the field, where we set up a Croquet Court, with lights for night play too, and we had sooo much fun togather and with Friends. The Teams of two, Red Team, Blue, Black, Yellow, Green, and White… the lawn chairs… the grill… the picnic table and benches… kids playing badmitton and horseshoes… and meee turning the crank (until it got hard and required a grown man) on the Ice Cream churn, with my trusty sidekick Trix, who was eager to lap up/gobble up "extras".
    There was something in the air… Laughter (the "music" of Joy), and like Y’all, not a care in the world.
    Thanks for yet another walk down Memory Lane Rene’, and…
    GodSpeed to Y’all…!
    in Tampa

  5. Kimberly D says:

    Summer is my favorite season also. I love to bbq, do that more than cooking in the house in the summer time. And sitting outside and reading and listening to all the chatter of the birds.

  6. Jacque says:

    Summers at the Jersey shore….nothing like it…we now live less than a mile from the beach and able to ride our bikes to the beach. Swimming in a beautiful salt water pool. love it!
    No chlorine!!!

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