Posted tagged ‘summer’

“How often have the greatest thoughts and ideas come to light during conversations with the family over the evening dinner?”

April 2, 2017

The sunlight is wonderfully bright. The sky is a dark blue. It is warmer than it has been so it feels warm to me. When I helped Gracie into the yard, I stayed outside for a bit basking in the sun. She ran around the yard the way she used to when she was younger then bounded up the stairs into the house. She deserved her treat!

When I went to bed last night, it was close to 2 AM. I was watching television, going through those pesky catalogs and checking out recipes on Pinterest. I woke up this morning at 10:45. My mother would have called that the sleep of the dead.

I never used to need lists. My memory was enough. Now I need list after list. Alexa keeps my grocery list and stickies hold the rest. There is a great deal of satisfaction in crossing off completed tasks despite how mundane some of them are. I have to sweep the kitchen today. That’s an easy one to complete. One down!

Despite the season or maybe because of it, a few movies on the deck films have already arrived. Most are 50’s black and white B movies with aliens or gigantic creatures or both; also, I have ordered a few of my favorites like Gunga Din and Rear Window. Spring needs to step up so summer won’t seem so far away.

If I were to choose a favorite day of the week, I’d choose Sunday. I wasn’t keen on going to mass when I was young so I consider that the only blight on the day. Most Sundays when I was a kid were quiet. I’d read the Sunday funnies. After the Sunday matinee movies started on TV, we’d watch those in the afternoon. I remember watching Lassie, Come Home. We were all at Sunday dinner in those days, jammed into the small kitchen. On the cold days, the windows there got steamy. I remember my mother used Melmac plates and bowls. For some strange reason, I have a visual memory of a bowl heaped with mashed potatoes. Sunday night meant earlier to bed because of school, but I never really complained. I was usually tired.

Even now, Sunday is different than the rest of the week. I have two papers to read, and I like to take my time. Sometimes I make eggs, bacon, and toast for breakfast. I usually have dinner though I often buy it rather than make it. More than not I have mashed potatoes.

I figure more than any other day, Sunday holds the most family memories.

“Laziness is the first step towards efficiency.”

November 29, 2016

or mThere isn’t any sun again. I’ve lost track of how many days. I get up and see clouds out the window; I go to get the papers and feel the cold and damp. The wind is slight so that’s a good thing. Only the edges of the brown leaves flutter and none fall to the ground.

Gracie has a vet appointment at 12:00, an old dog appointment which just means a second physical to make sure all is well. She also needs one shot and to have her nails clipped. It will be expensive. It always is.

Maddie howled me awake this morning. It was late so she probably had lost her patience and wanted her treats and some loving, in that order. Now she is standing beside me getting her neck scratched, and she is purring. If I dare stop, she nudges me with her head.

The laundry is back downstairs in front of the cellar door. Last time it sat here nearly a week. I finally got sick of seeing it. I could have thrown it downstairs, but that would have been far too lazy even for me.

I went through all the catalogues I had yesterday only to get more in the mail. They are never ending.

When I woke up this morning, my first thought was how to fix the dog door. The plastic fell again. I’m thinking a plastic strip over the holes would keep the screws attached. The big holes would disappear. I think I have just what I need in the cellar. That is now today’s other chore. Changing the bed is tops on the list.

Winter makes me lazy. The summer invites me outside and the spring demands attention. Fall catches my eyes with all its color, and I don’t want to miss it. Those colors never last long enough. In winter I’d much rather stay home. Being outside has little appeal. I don’t have to get dressed but can stay in my laze around the house clothes. Any chores can keep. I figure if I dust, I’ll only have to dust again so why bother. The house is neat, and that’s enough.

“I’ve buried a lot of my laundry in the back yard.”

September 9, 2016

When I got the papers, I noticed the road still wet from my lawn being watered. That screamed humidity to me so I turned on the air conditioning. The weatherman last night did say summer was returning today.

Periodically the AC turns on to break the silence. Gracie isn’t even snoring. Both cats are awake, unusual for the morning. One is cleaning her ears and the other is just looking out the window from her perch, the back couch cushion. I have no idea what holds her attention.

Today I have nothing to do, not a single list. I’m thinking about lolling and reading. Before that, though, I might hit the chocolate shop for bon bons.

Yesterday my list was completed. I even brought my laundry upstairs, a rarity. Usually it sits in the dryer for sometimes as long as a week. I don’t mind doing laundry. It is the up and down the stairs, the folding and the carrying up two flights of stairs which I don’t like. The house we lived in when we first moved to the cape had the washer and dryer in the kitchen because there wasn’t a cellar, just a small dug out area. That made doing laundry easy.  When I worked, I managed to get everything done including planning lessons and correcting.

When I worked, I managed to get everything done, mostly on the weekends when I shopped, mowed the lawn, did laundry and cleaned the house. Now, despite having all the time in the world, I hire people. The house gets cleaned every other Thursday. On the off weeks, I do a bit of dusting, a small bit of dusting, and some vacuuming. My lawn gets mowed every Friday. Peapod delivers groceries right to my kitchen. I order when the larder is empty. Skip, my factotum, does whatever I need, things like opening and closing the deck, painting and general repairs. I know I shouldn’t complain given what little I do, but I want staff, particularly a laundress or a launderer. I did find a drop off Launderette, but I just can’t see myself driving my laundry bag to Hyannis. I guess I’m stuck.

“It’s surprising how much of memory is built around things unnoticed at the time.”

June 22, 2015

The sun is in and out this morning trying to decide what to do. The air is still damp and a bit humid. Right now the sky is dark but the sun is peeking through. Rain is predicted for this afternoon so I’m thinking the sun will disappear for good a bit later.

It is officially summer, and it’s barbecue time. Bring out the ribs, the burgers and the chicken wings then add some sweet summer corn. My home-grown tomatoes are getting bigger on the vine and before too long they’ll be red ripe. July 4th is opening night at the movies. I have three possibilities on the ballot: Independence Day, Jaws and 1776. I’m leaning toward Jaws as it is celebrating its 40th birthday. “We need a bigger boat,” says it all. I have decorations and sparklers and I’m working on the menu. Red, white and blue will carry the day!

Memory is an odd thing. I have vivid memories of my childhood, but I sometimes hunt high and low for where I put my glasses. Some singular moments stand out from all the others, and I don’t know why. They aren’t particularly important moments, but they stay prominent regardless. One memory is silly. I was on the plane to Ghana and we stopped in Madrid. When we got back on the plane, my seatbelt was caught between the seat and the wall so I couldn’t use it. I pretended I was belted when the stewardess went around checking seatbelts. I don’t know why I just didn’t ask for help.

I sat in the back of the room when I was in the sixth grade, but in the front of the room when I was in the eighth. Neither really matters, but I still remember how the rooms looked from each perspective. I remember the candy counter at the movie theater. My favorite nickel bar of candy was a Welch’s Fudge Bar. They aren’t around anymore. My second favorite was a Skybar. You can still buy one of those. The fudge square was my favorite, probably still is. I remember how funny my feet felt in shoes after ice skating. My bologna sandwiches were misshapen because I had to cut pieces from a roll of bologna and some pieces were thick while others were too thin.

I can still close my eyes and see and describe places as they were. I don’t think of it as a trip down memory lane but rather as an adventure back in time.

“I go running when I have to. When the ice cream truck is doing sixty.”

September 28, 2014

Summer has stayed another day. The birds are flying in and out of the feeders, the red spawn has been soaked by the hose a couple of times, kids are riding their bikes up and down the street and the insects are singing. It is a wonderful day.

When I was a kid, my street was visited by so many people doing so many different things. There was the milkman whose bottles clanged in his metal holder as he walked to the back door, the sharpener man who rode a bike with a pedal driven honing wheel and who stopped to sharpen knives and scissors, the trash men who came once a week who carried their barrels behind their backs with one hand, the garbage man who also came once a week, the summer ice cream man who came every day, the junk man who shouted for rags and newspapers from his horse-drawn wagon and the mailman who knew everybody and always stopped to talk. The only name we kids knew was Johnny the ice cream man.

My favorite was the sharpener man. I loved to watch him sharpen knives as the wheel whirled. He pedaled fast and turned the knife from side to side then checked sharpness using his finger across the blade. He never cut himself. That amazed me.

Only the mailman is left, and he uses a truck. I take my own trash to the dump and the newspapers get recycled. My knives are quite dull, but I just bought a new sharpener so I’m hoping for the best. I’m also hoping I don’t cut myself prone as I am to self-inflicted injuries. There used to be an ice cream truck with bells playing a tune, but I haven’t heard or seen one on a while.

My neighborhood is a good one with lots of kids, friendly neighbors and dear friends, but I bemoan the loss of these men from our childhood. They provided services but most of all they provided color, smells and sounds to our lives. I still remember the sound of the wheel and the knife, the clop of the horse on the street and Johnny’s bell, that last one most of all.

“Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination.”

August 26, 2014

Today and the rest of the week will be summer warm. It is like a curse of sorts. Every day is cool until school starts then the heat comes. The temperature will hit the 80’s off-Cape.

Growing up I never noticed we didn’t have much money. To me we had what everyone else in the neighborhood seemed to have. I wore a uniform to school so I didn’t need a lot of dress clothes. I had one or two church dresses. That was more than enough. I had school shoes and play shoes. I always put my play clothes on as soon as I got home from school. I never needed prodding to get out of my uniform. We had one car, but that’s all we needed. My mother didn’t drive. We either walked everywhere or took the bus. I remember the trek to visit my aunt and uncle in East Boston. We walked up town, took the bus to Sullivan Square where we took the first of two subway trains. We had to switch lines at a station I don’t remember, but the second train brought us to Maverick Station in East Boston, and we walked just a bit to my aunt and uncle’s. My mother always told us to go to the next station if we got separated. She was hauling the four of us with her and had to watch my younger sisters so my brother and I had to keep our eyes on her. I remember kneeling, looking out the train window and watching everything whiz by us. I liked being underground and seeing all the pipes and hearing the squealing of the wheels at each turn. As the train lurched so did the people.

We lived in the project. It was all duplexes with front lawns, trees and backyards. Our house, as that’s how we thought of it, had three bedrooms, a living room and a smallish kitchen. We never felt in any way stigmatized by living in a project. Most of the adults were around my parents’ ages and there were tons of kids. We were never wanting for a playmate or someone to walk to school with or go see a movie. We lived there until the move to the cape. When I visit my sister who still lives in that town, I sometimes drive by our house. The trees and bushes are huge now, but it looks the same from the outside. Once when I drove by the house was empty but I didn’t get out to look. I should have. I’d have seen the living room through the picture window in front and the kitchen from the back steps. The cellar door was below a flight of stairs and I would have seen the sink for the washing machine from the door window.

We didn’t go away much or out to eat, but we never cared. We had woods and the swamp, the zoo, train tracks to walk, the dairy and a whole town to explore on our bikes. Life for us was rich.

“That familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.”

July 7, 2014

Yesterday got so busy for me I didn’t make it back to post music. I spent the time getting ready to celebrate a belated 4th of July. I had to make 2 trips for last-minute stuff, organize the dishes and bowls, sweep the deck and wash the table. My friends arrived at 2 and left at 9. It was a wonderful evening. We played games first on a table filled with appetizers then we had dinner then took a small break before dessert. The weather was perfect with a cooling breeze.

Today started out sunny but has since clouded over. The breeze is strong and chilly. It is supposed to be quite warm and humid later so I’m appreciating the cool morning.

When I drove to breakfast today, I was a gawker. All along my familiar route were people outside enjoying the start of the day. I saw dog walkers, a woman watering her lawn, a man with an electric saw trying to get rid of a huge stump in his front yard and joggers and golfers. Old Main Street, filled with historical homes, drew my attention today. I see them all the time but mostly from a side glance as I drive by. Today I was taken by the beauty of their front gardens and the houses themselves, each with a dated plaque. I think it one of prettier rides on the cape, and I get drive it whenever I want. That’s a nice gift.

Summer makes us more familiar with each other. We are out of our houses, out of bulky coats and scarves, the windows are opened and we smile at one another or nod as we pass. I stop and chat with my neighbors. We have just come out of winter hibernation, and we need to get reacquainted, catch-up with the latest news. We bemoan the Red Sox and their tumble from greatness. We talk about the weather: no conversation around here is complete without a mention of the weather, either loving it or whining about the heat and humidity. We wish each other the best of all summers then I say good-bye, wave and drive home. We’ll see each other again. It is after all summer.