>Summer Afternoons…

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 Summer is officially here, and it’s been hot enough to prove it. I’ve been somewhat under the weather, my allergies working in league with the awful ozone quality to wreak havoc on my respiratory system. Ah, well…such is life in the South…

I’ve been reading posts about yummy summer foods and thought it was time to share a childhood summer tradition…

Grandma babysat most of us grandkids during the summer (and four of us during the school year). The basic outline of our daily schedule was this: drop off, play till breakfast (I usually picked cereal), outside until lunch, nap (even when we

were about ten years old, we took naps-we’d been playing since sun up and we were tired!), snack, and play till mom picked us up. The main point of this post is, of course, the snack.

Grandma and Grandpa had an old timey rectangular cement picnic table situated under a black walnut tree just a few yards from the kitchen window. Every single day, with the only exceptions being days we made ice cream, we ate watermelon. There was a half acre garden behind our house and we (Mom, sister and me, Grandpa, and one of our uncles) grew just about anything you could think of in that garden, including lots of watermelon.

Grandma would get her big butcher knife, cradle a large watermelon in her arms, and holler, “Come on if you want some!” We always wanted some. We sat patiently while she carved equal servings…and we weren’t allowed to make pigs of ourselves. Somehow, not making pigs of ourselves didn’t include the traditional seed spitting contests (shamefully, I was pretty good). Nor did it stop our older cousins from tricking us (only once per victim) into eating well into the rind. 
These were quieter moments when we actually spoke in normal human tones and acted like normal human children; er, with the exception of the seed spitting. The rest of the days were spent running amok, climbing trees and getting pine sap all over every exposed inch of hair and skin, trekking through acres of woods, building tree houses and wagons from scrap wood, conducting clandestine apple wars (getting discovered meant a ‘go get me a switch’ meeting), jumping from the barn loft, etc. However, there were a few times when, on our way to the picnic table, Grandma would say, “Go get on the table.” We were never allowed to sit on the table (bottoms don’t go where your food goes.) Unless Grandma saw a snake. King snakes, green snakes and black snakes….pretty much had everyone’s blessing…they ate rats-which were abundant in hay fields. Copperheads, not so welcome. Grandma would put the knife and watermelon on the table, get the hoe standing beside the chimney, and go after the snake. Grandma was pretty good with a hoe…
Once, when we were going to the creek for a swim, Grandma said, “Kids, hold up!” We watched as a king snake swam right by us…
Know why a king snake is called a king snake? According to legend, it’s immune to all other snakes’ venom.
What’s a summertime childhood tradition you remember?
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About CuriousCat

I love to learn new things-anything from how to create a junk journal to the way light moves through space; why cats present their behinds to us to the effects of chemicals on our endocrine system. If it interests me, I can spend hours reading and learning about it.

Posted on June 25, 2010, in Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. >Your grandmother sounds like she would have been a good "Alice" too 🙂 I love the saying about bottoms and tables! One of the things I love most about blogging is reading personal memories and thoughts. ps-you picked out a great tv dad!

  2. >Me, too, Susan! It's neat to discover how similar (and different) we all are. Grandma would have gotten a kick out of your comparison… 😛

  3. >My blood center is in Louisiana. My friend, Jesse, a blood courier in the Beaumont, Texas blood center, grows his own watermelons. His crop was so good this season, he brought enough watermelon for everyone in the Beaumont center to have some. I told him that old joke of the wicked little brothers … who at the church picnic used one of their mother's old insulin syringes to inject moonshine into the watermelons. And their biggest laughs came when they spotted the preacher slipping some of the seeds into his pockets.He promised me some regular watermelon next meet. But he said I'd have to moonshine 'em up myself. Roland

  4. >That's funny! And really thoughtful…you're gonna need a lot of moonshine!

  5. >What a wonderful summertime tradition! I love snacks in the summer. My parents used to take us to local farm stands and we'd have ice cream.

  6. >My goodness…your wonderful story took me back a few years.What wonderful memories!

  7. >*Aubrie-ice cream on a summer afternoon-not much gets better than that!*Charlene-you know I love nostalgia….

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