Summer at Grandma’s

I loved summers. Rootbeer floats, fried chicken Sundays, biscuits and gravy for breakfast.
Cousins galore.
All of us sleeping on pallets and sleeping bags around Grandma’s floor, wherever we fit.
The last days of school were spent in anticipation. Not of freedom but of Oklahoma, the land of Grandma and Grandpa, the Blue River and then later, Tecumseh, husking corn, snapping beans and eating fried okra. Learning to make a bed the right way and clean a stove after dinner was done. How to sweep until a floor was clean.
And, the biggest anticipation of all once Grandpa retired from preaching, Oak Park Church of God.
Grandpa was a preacher. He had no problem calling us out from the pulpit if we talked during the service. It only happened once that I can recall.
I don’t know what it was about that church that made it different. Maybe it’s just because it’s wrapped up in memories of those summers. Whatever it was, I loved everything about it. The choir and their hymnals and southern gospel music. Connie, the pianist with the voice of an angel. The preacher with his black hair and soothing voice. Aunt Jane taking us to Sunday School, sometimes teaching. Boys. I don’t remember their names today, but I definitely remember those crushes that meant nothing and everything.
And then there was baseball and Grandma’s Cardinals. The adults gathered round the TV, whooping and hollering and making all us kids laugh as we played outside, bossed around by the oldest Carolyn, unless she was too busy. If that happened we were free to play in the ditch under the pear trees with Hot Wheels or baby dolls or go to the park down the alley or explore through all Grandpa’s stuff in the backyard.
And when summer winded to a close, we didn’t want to go back home. Who cared about school? Home was boring. No cousins. No fun church. No Grandma with her books and baseball and no Grandpa with his Bible.
But summer always ended with the promise of more of the same come Christmas.
Until one day summer ended.
I don’t know when it happened, but suddenly at 36, I wish I could have it back. I wish I could give my daughter a second of that time, let her see what it was like in that age before PlayStation and cable TV.
But going back’s impossible. So I’ll live with telling her the stories and watching her roll her eyes as she listens for the thousandth time about summers and sleeping bags and pallets and too many cousins to count and at the center of it all: Grandma and Grandpa.

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One response to “Summer at Grandma’s

  1. Reblogged this on A Writer's Life and commented:

    An oldie but a goodie. Every year I hit mid-summer and remember the days of late nights at Grandma’s where cousins were best friends, gardens reigned supreme, church league softball meant the best kind of fun and homemade lunches were the norm.

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