Monday, August 27, 2012

Summer is over and gone...


The crickets sang in the grasses. They sang the song of summer’s ending, a sad, monotonous song. “Summer is over and gone,” they sang. “Over and gone, over and gone. Summer is dying, dying.”


The crickets felt it was their duty to warn everybody that summertime cannot last forever. Even on the most beautiful days in the whole year — the days when summer is changing into fall the crickets spread the rumor of sadness and change.
   ~Charlotte's Web (The Crickets)


That bit out of Charlotte's Web has always stuck with me. It's my first thought when I hear August's crickets chirping to the night. I'm listening to them now, that twinkling sound; that glorious chorus punctuated by the bzzt-bzzt-bzzt and click-click-tick of katydids joining in. It brings me such joy, contentment; and melancholy.

Summer is over and gone, over and gone...

Long ago summers of green ghost and States and staying out until the ungodly hour of nine o'clock. We were such hooligans, running the suburban streets until such an hour. What were our parents thinking? Magical summer. Anything was possible.We were young and wild and freer than we'd ever be again. We were good and stupid and kind and mean. We were kids for whom summer ended exactly on Labor Day, heralded by cricketsong.

Summer is over and gone, over and gone...



I remember, straddling my Baracuda 3-speed bicycle, curls sweat-plastered to my face, ready to race my brother's best friend (who I had a not-so-secret crush on.) Playing cards clothes-pinned to my spokes, basket on the handlebars--and fringe. I was ready. My brother had a cap gun, to make it official and all; bang! I pedaled with everything I had, but my not-so-secret crush was bigger and his bike was a ten-speed. He won. Chivalry among children does not exist.


Summer is over and gone, over and gone...

I remember picking mulberries. I liked them slightly less than ripe: deep red at the bottom, kind of pink at the top. That sour tang, that burst of sweet. We ate them straight off the tree. No pesticides, no fertilizer to worry about. Pop-pop-pop, in they went. What we couldn't eat, we baked into pies or smooshed on one another. Strategically. Not quite in naughty spots, but close enough to giggle over.

Summer is over and gone, over and gone...

I remember walking to the Milk Jug to buy ice cream with my brothers and sister, running through the sprinkler, rolling down the hill. We built a fort out of the crates (real wooden ones) our new washer and dryer and refrigerator came in. Being inside was like crawling into an oven. (What were our parents thinking??) Labor Day approached, and the church bazaar my parents helped to run. The last big bang before school and homework and getting to bed on time. My dad always ran the basketball hoop game. "Hit the road, kid, you're bothering me!" was his favorite line, said with a smile and a quarter slipped into my sticky palm--no matter how many times I came back begging. I always played HON on the wheel. It only cost about a million dollars in quarters to win the bedspread doll I'd coveted all week long.

Summer is over and gone, over and gone...

But not really. Never really. It lives through autumn and winter and spring. It did then. It does now. It lives through the years, waiting. For cricketsong to bring it to life. For the smile. For the breath of life blown into it, just for a moment.

What summer memories do you have to share? Any one (or three!) will do.











9 comments:

Darke Conteur said...

I loved summer as a kid, but then who didn't. I remember watching heat lightning in clouds, playing 'Star Wars' (I was always Leia and never got the chance to use a lightsabre), going to the cottage and being able to stay outside all day and not get burnt. :)

Terri-Lynne said...

Heat lightning! You know, that seemed so common when I was a kid, but I couldn't tell you the last time I saw it as an adult. I DO hear thunder during a snowstorm though. That's something I never experienced as a kid.

Oh, yeah--and the no sunblock thing. I don't know--I'm sure I'm forgetting--but I don't recall many sunburns as a kid. Once in Florida that sticks out in my mind. Not saying sunblock shouldn't be used! Just wondering if it's a bit OVERused.

Karin Rita Gastreich said...

I remember the ice cream truck -- hearing it when we were playing in the park or at the neighborhood pool, and then racing home with my brother to beg Mom for a quarter, and then running after the truck in hopes of buying a popsicle.

I also remember knocking cicadas out of trees and setting them on fire. I bet you all didn't know I was ever that evil!

I remember Mom telling me to stop reading yet another book, so I could go outside and enjoy the beautiful weather. But if it was a good book, I rebelled, because the greatest summer adventures were always to be found in books...

Terri-Lynne said...

Karin--you ARE evil!! I never would have suspected.

My favorite treat from the ice cream man was a bomb pop--you know, the red white and blue ice pop. That and chocolate eclair. Sometimes strawberry shortcake or toasted almond. But my absolute favorite was the ice cream bar with the chocolate bar in the middle. Oh, yum!

Patricia J. Esposito said...

This was lovely. At the moment, your memories are recalling all of mine and you said it more beautifully than I could right now. So, I think I'll bask in the memories you created. Yes, it had magic, wild, free potential!

Patricia J. Esposito said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Terri-Lynne said...

Thanks for stopping by, Patricia! I'm glad to have warmed a few memories for you.

queenoftheskies said...

My summer memories come in two sorts.

One was freedom to roam alone through the woods, play in the creek, act out stories I made up in my head. That was when I was younger.

Once I hit pre-teen and teen, my Mom always got rid of me for the summer. She'd dump me at the swim club (where I spent more time reading than swimming because I was there ALL day) or ship me off to Girl Scout camp for three weeks at a time.

I learned a lot about self-sufficiency this way and that probably serves me well now. :)

At the time, though, it was lonely.

The making up stories part, though, was awesome.

Terri-Lynne said...

Janice--some parents just don't know how to deal with their kids once they're in the two-digits. I don't know what that's all about. I love little ones, but I feel like I do better with older kids. When I did Girl Scout camp, I was counselor for the fourth/fifth grade girls for two years, and middle school girls for two years. Then I went on to being the PA director, working with girls from the ages of 13-18. They LOVED me! :)

Having the freedom to roam the woods, to roam those stories in your head--priceless. I'm sorry you were lonely though. :(