Those Lazy Hazy Crazy Days Of Summer

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A response to my blog from yesterday flagged a memory that opened a host of others. My cousin, Bethanne, wrote: “Oh the old hand cranked ice cream makers, nothing better I remember those times Uncle Wayne sitting and cranking and everyone taking turns on a lazy Sunday afternoon, and you boys cutting the grass with the lawn mower that didn’t run on gas or electricity”. 

During my childhood years, my folks often opted to make homemade ice cream. Often those experiences were surrounded with extended family or friends. There was a breezeway or carport between our home and my grandparents who lived next door. Frequently vehicles were moved and that area became a covered patio area where friends gathered.

I don’t remember how long it actually takes to make homemade ice cream, but it didn’t happen quickly. My mother was of the opinion that after it was made, it needed to remain packed in ice and sit for a while. It wasn’t just the taste of the ice cream that was important. Perhaps of more importance was the social event surrounding the ice cream. It was always shared times with neighbors and/or extended family.

Strange the thing one remembers, but I recall our making ice cream once in the front yard of a home where childhood friends of my parents lived in Odessa. They only lived in Odessa for a brief time before then moved to Louisiana, but their friendship with my parents remained throughout my parent’s lives. Perhaps roots from childhood were meant to grow deep and provide friendship and support throughout a lifetime.

Of course, from the vantage point of childhood, there was also the “ice cream man or ice cream truck” that announced its arrival by the sound of a simple melody. There was no mistaken it, it was the “ice cream man.” We were always it line by the time the music stopped.

My nostalgic reflections of so many happy fun-filled times brings to memory the music of Nat King Cole, “Those Lazy Hazy Crazy Days of Summer”. What kid doesn’t enjoy the leisure and fun filled times of childhood? Of course, I know that my memories and my experiences are not universal. Too many children have something other than a positive frame of reference related to summer, but since this is my blog, I’m going to enjoy the memories and be grateful for all I was provided.

Mom orchestrated weekly visits to the library. There was the expectation that we read at least one book a week. Just because school was out, didn’t mean we couldn’t benefit from the extra time to broaden our horizons through reading. To this very day, reading is one of my favorite past times. One can be transformed to another world and another place through the written word. Interestingly, I can think of any number of movies that were made based on a novel. Some of them are really good movies, but I can’t think of any where the movie was better than the book.

Of course, one of my favorite adventures related to the lazy hazy crazy days of summer was the opportunity to visit my maternal grandparents for a week without parental supervision. It was always a fun-filled time. Generally there was another cousin or two present and our “make believe world” expanded as we roamed the pasture, played cowboys and Indians and stayed up late at night sitting and talking on the covered front porch. It was a good life.

We were probably junior high school age before we got to go to the community swimming pool without parental supervision, but that too is a fun memory. Ronnie and I could both swim and we’d dare each other to dive off of the high board. More often than not, we’d opt to jump rather than dive in head first, but I think I got the knack of it before he did. At least, that is my memory and I’m holding to it.

We grew up in a day where we got our driver’s license at the age of fourteen. My, My, My! – never in a hundred years would I think that is a good idea for any fourteen year old. Most of my reserve is based on personal experience, but I remember being more than ready for the thrill associated to being behind the wheel. I still enjoy driving. I don’t plan to give it up. My kids will have a challenge of unprecedented struggle should they ever decide my driving is unsafe. Trust me, I’ve got history.  I’m sure I’ll be better driver at the age of one hundred than I was at fourteen.

How long has it been since I’ve thought of a lawnmower than didn’t run on gas or electricity? Actually, I’ve never used an electric powered mower. I can only imagine sparks flying as I’d undoubtedly cross over the chord. I do; however, have childhood memories of a push mower that was really a push mower.

My family never had a gasoline-operated mower until Ronnie and I graduated from high school. If memory serves me correctly, Larry had allergies. I don’t recall that he ever had to mow the yard. I’m sure if my memory is faulty, he will chime in and make a response to set the record straight. At any rate, when we graduated from high school, dad graduated to a gasoline-powered lawn mower.

Many thoughts run together from those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer, but they bring affirmation to the concept that my childhood was good.

All My Best!

Don

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