In less than two weeks, we will officially usher in summer. Even though I don't particularly love the hot humid weather summer brings in my area, there are a few things I especially look forward to when summer is finally here.
As I was coming in the house today, I heard the low, distant rumbling of a far-off thunderstorm. I love late-afternoon thunderstorms during the summer! I have memories from my childhood summers of going to spend time with my sister at our grandmother's house in Macon, Georgia. Our cousin would meet up with us there and we would have one of the most memorable weeks of our summer break. I remember the hot, humid days of south Georgia and how after playing outside for awhile or taking a walking trip downtown to shop (only in the sixties could you do that), we'd come in to the cool of my grandmother's den. She had a really old house with no central air, but one room with a window unit was all we needed! We'd camp out in the den and cool off while we played games and my grandmother worked crossword puzzles. I also remember going to another cousin's house near Buford, Georgia occasionally. This was actually her grandma's house, her being a 'distant' cousin, but some of those memories are also vivid. Macon and Buford, Georgia seemed like faraway places for a young girl from Atlanta. At both of these homes, I remember coming in from late afternoon play to a book or a game with the music of thunder playing in the background. Good memories. I might note here, however: I DO NOT LIKE electrical storms and there is a difference! When the lightening gets so intense that I want to hide under the bed (I actually did that as a child), that's a little too much thunder for my liking. But the rolling conversation of thunder in the heavens is a sound that makes summer special by giving us a reprieve from the heat and signaling that an afternoon shower is pending.
Another summertime favorite is the joy of fresh cucumbers, tomatoes, corn, peaches, and all the other fruits and veggies available during this season. I know most people can get these any time of the year now, but sometimes during the winter they are a poor substitute for the summer offerings. You've not lived till you've bit into a south Georgia peach or tasted a Vidalia onion or a tomato still warm from the vine in the summer. To me, there is nothing better than a pasta salad with -- oh, heck, just leave the pasta out and make it all veggies! I love to mix up a salad using whatever I have on hand...cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, corn, broccoli, peas, arugula, spinach...anything goes! Dress it with a little salt, garlic, and lime juice or toss it with your favorite Italian dressing, and you've got dinner. I usually call myself a winter cook because I enjoy making one-pot dinners on cold days -- you know, stews, soups, casseroles -- but summer is even easier than winter's one-pot meals. Salads are perfect summer suppers and cooking on the grill (another summertime fave) is even better because hubby does the cooking! I have a friend (won't mention names here) who does not like tomatoes or cucumbers. I tell her all the time she is definitely NOT from the south (even though she says she hails from Macon, Georgia supposedly), but then she'll eat onions with the best of us, so I let her slide. If you don't know what a Vidalia onion is, look it up! It's the best thing the south has to offer which is saying a lot because home-grown veggies are what the south is known for. One of our local farmers will have his corn crop ready for harvest in a couple of weeks. Another childhood memory of mine...my mom and grandmother putting up fresh corn and okra and canning peas.
Yumm-o. Once again, good memories.
The final thing on my mind today, but definitely not my final summertime joy, is ice cream. Now, I know that ice cream is something that is again found year round and it is appropriate for dessert any time of year as well, even during the cold of winter, but summertime ice cream is different. If you are lucky enough to have a home ice cream churn and your grandma's favorite custard recipe, you know what I'm talking about. There is nothing better than a bowl of fresh, home-churned ice cream. There is really nothing else like it. The ice cream manufacturers have tried and have come close, but it's still not the same. Another trip down memory lane: I can remember clear as day my family making home-churned ice cream in the summer. It seemed like it took forever for mama to mix up the recipe, pour it into the churn, pack it with salt and dry ice and then wait till it was ready, while someone cranked the handle. Oh, the waiting! But it was worth every minute we waited when a spoonful of that heaven touched your lips and tongue! Folks don't make homemade ice cream as much anymore, I guess because there are so many delectable ready-to-eat brands out there -- Moose Tracks, anyone? But if you're looking for something to do this summer with your kids or grandkids, make ice cream. It's an experience they'll always remember. The other thing about summertime ice-cream eating: There is no guilt. Absolutely all the guilt has been magically removed because, well, summers are made for eating ice cream!
Have you noticed that all of these summertime joys stem from memories I made in childhood? Interesting. I for one think we long for nostalgia...for the good old days...for a simpler time. Fifty years from now, someone will think 2015 was the good old days, imagine that. I could go on and on about running through the sprinkler, catching lightening bugs, going barefooted until my feet were black, and going to drive-in movies... Sometimes it doesn't hurt, and even helps, to look back and recall the wonderful memories that help make us who we are. As long as we don't stay in the past... OR use those memories for an excuse to eat ice cream every single solitary day of the summer...
Let summer begin!
Posted by CC
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