Clyde: Languish in the last summer days

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 10, 2021

By Clyde

Roll out those lazy house of hot, endless, sleepless nights on the back porch.

Suddenly, the last of summer slips sideways and we search for someone somewhere who said something that made sense somehow besides some people who are sneaky scoundrels sometimes. From the first sighting of a lightning bug, can the invasion of the storm troopers be far behind? Maybe the COVID experts could now transfer to work on eradicating the lowly, hated mosquito?

Latin from musca, Spanish for fly; our evening paridosas in Rowan County would be more heavenly without those dive-bomber “skeeters.” They get you when you’re not looking or checking your inbox every six seconds.

As summer fades into dog days, the period when the dog star, Sirius, rises and sets slowly with the sun; we can only lay back in our hammock and sip a little real lemonade with a sprig of mint. The Arawakan aborigines of the West Indies invented the hamaca, and lord knows who invented lemonade from life’s fruits or mistakes. Real dissolved sugar in warm water and ice box ice, there’s a certain rite of passage to teach kids how to squeeze real ones. Your stomach doesn’t know if it’s pink or not. Everybody invents their own lemon squeezer. As a side dish, just add chemicals furnished by store-bought “perfectly balanced spinach artichoke dip” with packaged yankee pita chips.

Summer garden produce is just that. What have to tender seedlings from April days actually made out of themselves.

The Song of Solomon 6:11 says, “I went down into the garden to see whether the vine flourished and the pomegranates budded.” God’s miracle of growth and prosperity has survived another year. The Miller Road cantaloupes are as good as ever. A few squash and twisted string beans that the varmints didn’t “git” and an occasional overlooked tomato may be all we have produced.

“And Lot lifted up his eyes and beheld it was well-watered everywhere before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah even as the garden of the Lord,” says Genesis 13:10.

Can you even find an heirloom, old south “moon and star” watermelon for a seed-spitting contest afterward? How can you process “country fresh” into plastic bags or even toilet paper that is labeled “country soft”?

Real country is Hill’s Minnow Farm hand-cranked with a white mountain freezer with Whitaker’s peaches ice cream that sticks to the dash and to your ribs. Double dipping is good, but not with your fingers.

Speaking of taking a dip, count the swimming holes that used to be around. If you were lucky enough to have a farm pond with a pier, you could even swim with the cows. In the Virginia mountains, they say you could pour kerosene on the creek and light it to get rid of snakes before you swing, like Tarzan, on a vine. Daredevils went to the bottomless quarries to cool off. For Spencer boys, it was Walt Wilson’s 25-cent, 8th Street pool Forestdale that opened in 1955. Or, you could go out to Hannah’s Ferry pond. Eaman Park and Meadowbrook are newcomers. Near Dunn’s Mountain you had your choice: McCanless, Granite Lake or Mirror Lake on the site of the Moyle Plantation. Further east, it was all about Blue Waters Pool or ye old Happy Lake with the high slide off Highway 152.

Ninety-one percent of people are afraid to be seen in a bathing suit.

For fun afterward, there was Click and Betty’s ferris wheel or the rides behind the Kroger store. Who knows who ran the rides beside Joe’s drive-in out past St. Mary’s cemetery?

On East Bank Street, the pool had to be closed before redevelopment brought the Fred Evans pool today. Before the new pool, there were just too many snakes.

The backyard creek kept flowing after a summer rain. We thought it would stay dammed up forever after we did it.

So, let’s let the summer of ’21 pass by and not be memorable, just gone. Stop and reflect on the dapple light on the weeds and languish, longing with some Longfellow: “The shadow of the linden trees lay moving on the grass — between them and the moving boughs — a shadow thou didst pass”

Just don’t store away the lawnmower yet.

Clyde lives in Salisbury.

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