Summertime on the farm has always meant lots of hard work but along with the labor, this season offers some of the best of fun, and provides some of the very best of childhood memories.
I remember cousins coming to visit, which gave us reason to celebrate with a good game of baseball.
On our own, we had to place so many ghost runners all about that it was more a game of imagination than reality. It felt great to field a real team and swing for the grand slam.
Instead of using up a valuable player as a catcher, we relied on a grand old cedar tree as our backstop.
All these years later, I can remember rounding third base and bolting toward that tree, which was also home plate. That tree is emblazoned on my memory, and I can even recall the feel of its rough bark in the glorious moment of scoring a run.
Badminton was one of my favorite summer games, but we spent lots of time shooting hoops, hitting a volleyball around, followed by a good game of tetherball if only two kids were available. Evenings, after chores were all done, often meant a picnic at our farm pond with a nice little bonfire.
There was nothing more fun than a night time swim on a warm summer evening, pretending to be dolphins, diving and somersaulting our way to sheer exhaustion. Freeze tag was the perfect game to play after just such a swim.
If we were lucky enough to have found some big marshmallows in the cupboard, the roasting of a great dessert was easy as could be.
Chasing lightning bugs was always a grand finale on the day. I remember happily falling into bed with sheer exhaustion on those summer nights, sleeping a wonderfully deep sleep.
Several times a summer, we four sisters would drag blankets and pillows to the open porch just off of our upstairs bedroom. It was not one bit fancy — it was a simple tar paper floored porch with white wood railing around it, but to us it seemed like the best rooftop plaza ever offered.
We had the most magnificent view of the black summer sky, and we would make wishes on falling stars. How I wish we had written some of our wishes down!
Our heads were full of the great space race, and we looked out at the grand universe with such excitement for all that was possible. Many nights, the mosquito war was not worth fighting, driving us from the great outdoors to a much more comfortable bed, but there were times we lasted through the night out on that rooftop porch all the way to morning milking time.
I remember times the heavy dew made us feel as though we had just taken a morning swim.
The summer we landed a man on the moon, I was 10 years old. I wrote about the momentous day in my diary, and I remember the thrill of it, the sheer mysterious and impossible now seeming possible.
We slept on the upstairs porch that night, and I asked my sisters if one day we all could fly to the moon together.
“Of course,” one sister answered. “Some day we will be able to buy tickets to the moon just like it’s nothing.”
For some reason, it brought a lump in my throat. Anything, absolutely anything, would be possible in our lifetime.
It was almost too much to take in. I wiped a tear as a star shot across the sky. A part of me wanted everything to stay just as it was forever; a deeper part of me knew all we could do was hold on tight. The world really was a’changing. …