Monday, June 22, 2015

Summer Time

Summertime...and the livin' is easy. Janis Joplin belts out her invitation to grab a mason jar of sweet tea, and laze around the water hole on a sweltering afternoon.
In this case, come along as I ponder and reminisce my childhood memories of summer.

Mom's with kids love it. No school, no packing lunches, no alarm clocks. That is until a week later when everyone is bored, bored, bored and bickering non-stop.

My summers as a kid were a mixture of the best of times...the worst of times.
Trips back to Indiana in our trailer.
Early morning swim lessons at the Plunge.
Hide and seek with the neighbor kids until it got dark.
Rolling around in the grass and finding all the little bug bites that itched like crazy.
Playing "Mermaids" in the backyard above ground pool - with the middle a little deeper.
Two weeks in the Santa Cruz mountains for summer camp.
Summer school.

Every two or three years my parents would make the trek across country with our small
blue and white Shasta trailer - destination, Indianapolis, Indiana. Sometimes we'd head out the last of May, a week or so before school was out. I'd have my packet of schoolwork in tow.
My dad was a leisurely traveler. He'd plan for a week travel. That meant stops along the way.
It went something like this:
Our first day included all of Nevada and an overnight stop in Salt Lake City, Utah. Back then, it was safe to park at rest stops, filling station parking lots; even along the side of the road with a wide turnout. More than once, we'd be the only ones parked in the gravel. Come morning, though, we'd smell coffee, bacon, burnt toast and step out of the trailer to find a wagon train of other campers and trailers. There were always "good mornings," and, "so where did you come from and where are you heading?"
One year, it was a dark and stormy night when we found a turn out in the road somewhere just outside of Salt Lake City. I was around 10. It was late and my dad was tired. He was the only driver then. We dashed out of our car and into the trailer as sheets of rain, thunder and lighting assailed us. The wind rocked our small metal container throughout the night. Needless to say, none of us slept much.
In the morning, the storm had passed over, the sun shone bright and it was warm. My father stepped out of the trailer. We were parked close to the edge of a cliff. The drop off a few feet from our car and trailer.

Little America, Wyoming was a highlight of our trip. For miles and miles we passed through dry, brown, flat land. Every once and awhile, we'd see a herd of antelope or buffalo, but for the most part it was BORING. And then... we'd begin seeing signs for Little America. Each time Mom, Dad and I would comment that they moved it further away. It seemed to take forever to get there. Out of nowhere, it seemed, there would be an oasis of a few buildings and cars. We'd safely made it once again.
 What was the draw? Soft serve chocolate and vanilla swirl ice cream cones!
I lived for the experience. All that driving through desolate wilderness for a soft serve chocolate and vanilla swirl ice cream. It was cool, creamy - a long awaited treat for the palate. I was in heaven.
Oh, and the bathroom. All that driving with no towns in between - the bathroom was a close second to the ice cream.
Next: Fireflys



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