Today is supposed to be warm, maybe even hot. Yesterday Skip, my factotum, was here all day getting the backyard and deck ready for summer. Looks like the timing was perfect. The vegetable garden was weeded, its fence mended, candles hung in the trees, furniture uncovered and cleaned, Gracie’s holes filled, including the one closest to China, backyard ornaments put into the ground and my favorite new addition set up from the heavy pine tree: two stars hung together with five tails extending from them all in white lights. I put them on the timer and last night the stars were beautiful. A few things remain, like planting the veggies and adding flowers and herbs to the pots and getting the shower ready, but that’ll wait until it’s warmer every day. I can’t help it. Seeing the deck ready makes me excited to be out there every day.
When I was a kid, and it was summer, we never stayed in the house, even when it rained. We’d find a leafy tree and stay under it to keep as dry as we could. Most days, though, we’d spend at the playground on the field at the bottom of our street. There were two college students there and at each of the playgrounds in town. They ran all the activities. One summer I painted a tray, and it was the best painting I’d ever done. Every summer I’d make lanyards or bracelets out of gimp. I could do all different knots. The first one I learned was the square knot then the round and then the flat. The round was for the lanyard and the flat was the best for a gimp bracelet. I made pot holders on that square loom with the hooks where you wove the cotton. I think I gave my mother one for every Christmas for years. I played horseshoes, checkers and softball and learned to play chess and tennis. For years I spend the entire day at that playground. The local paper, The Independent, had a playground section once a week,and I got my name in the paper a few times for winning at horseshoes and for being the winning pitcher in softball. Nothing makes a kid happier than to see her name in print.
I out grew the playground and spent summers round the house more. By the time I was a teenager, my friends and I were at the go out at night stage. I was on a drill team and we had drill practice two nights a week, and once every couple of weeks we’d go the drive-in. Some nights we just hung around the way teenagers do. My mother didn’t seem to miss the potholders.