I was just reminiscing about how we spent our summer after we got out of school. We had chores to do even when we were small, but we did not seem to mind doing them – I guess we knew the consequences if we didn’t. But I remember the long hot days – lazy days of summer. We had dirt in our yard, but I don’t remember getting all dirty – except our feet. We would get water and make mud and put our toes in it and make frog houses. If you could put that mud on your toes and about half way up your foot and then slide it out you had a good “toad frog” house. I don’t know why we called them that – I never saw a frog in them. Then have you ever found a “doodle bug” hole and got a stick and put it down in there and said “doodle bug, doodle bug, come up” and that bug would come up out of that hole. We thought we had performed “magic”. I guess the doodle bug knew to come up or we would smash him. Oh, the mud pies we made – actually, they looked so good we would almost ate them. We would put leaves and china berries or whatever kind of berry we could find and put them in the sun to harden. I’ve heard of kids eating dirt, but I don’t remember trying them.
My brother made little wooden cars and trucks that would roll on wheels and we would make roads and even make fences around a pasteboard box, which served as a farmhouse. On, we had a wonderful imagination. Our house was up off the ground and it was high enough to play under it. I remember it being cool under there. I guess that is why they stored “Irish Potatoes” under the house. We would blow the dirt off them and eat them raw – pretty good. We had “china-berry trees” in our yard. They were easy to climb up into and with the leaves blowing it was like a fan in the tree house. They had berries on them and the boys and my dad would make “pop guns’ out of some sort of cane and you could slide one cane down the other and shoot those berries out. They would sting when they hit you.
Our house had a big long open hall, so after lunch we would get our old quilt and make us a “pallet” on the floor and rest or take a nap. The days seemed longer then – I guess because we got out of bed earlier. If we could find a big pasteboard box we would make us a car. We would get a stick and use for the steering wheel and put a “syrup bucket” lid on it. Maybe we would make a convertible – used “tow sacks” for the top. On, we had an imagination back then. But I suppose that is the mother of a lot of our inventions today.
At times during the day we would lie on the cool grass and look up at the clouds in the sky. We could always find shapes of animals or people as they formed. I still do that today when I’m riding along – if someone else is driving. It seems as if rabbits and old Santa are always there. At night it was so hot in the house we always sat on the porch until the house cooled off enough to go to bed. My mom would stuff a syrup bucket with old rags and set it on fire to smoke off the mosquitoes. You could see all the stars and moon because there were no streetlights. We saw lots o “shooting stars” then. I still miss that, but I do go out and look at a full moon at times.
I don’t see children out playing in yards anymore. I guess they are inside watching TV or playing video games. They also have parks, swimming pools, camps, movies and a lot of other things to do. But I am thankful for all of these new “things” the children have, but I am thankful that I grew up when life was simple and we really appreciate all the good things we have today to keep children busy. Times have changed, but one thing remains the same – the same God who loved us and blessed us back then is the same loving God who blesses us every day of our lives, and we are so grateful for that.