Monday, July 17, 2006

The Heat of the Past

Like most of the country, we are in the middle of a searing heat. There's actually a little cactus in the icon for tomorrow's weather. As a pregnant woman, I'm mostly staying in. But when I do venture out, all I can think of is my summer visits to my grandparent's house. They live in the flat farmland of southern Missouri. It was always this sort of hot at my grandparent's house in the summer. It's the sort of hot that begs for pools and sprinklers and those icy pops that come in the plastic wrapper in boxes of 100 that never have enough of the purples. When you step out the door all you can smell is the humid air, sweetened with the smell of the drying grass clippings and the roses. Dinner, served promptly at noon, features tomatoes and corn in abundance and there is nothing quite so sweet or flavorful in all creation. Someone would have picked corn up from a farm stand early in the morning, checking to be sure the ears still felt warm from being in the field. The tomatoes would be from a friend's garden, so heavy and ripe you couldn't be sure how they had stayed on the vine. As I grew older, I sometimes helped with the shucking and freezing of the corn but I was never deemed quite good enough at getting all the "milk." In the mercy of the twilight you sit on the old swingset and daydream about the books you read in the heat of the afternoon, sitting in the dark livingroom with the shades closed tight, chilly in the air conditioning (southerners like to make up for all those years spent sweating before the miracle invention) and drinking coke from a glass bottle. Before you go to bed you take a bath to cool you down and carefully count your bug bites as you apply the calmomine and wonder which you'll have more of- freckles or bug bites. Bedtime comes with thunderstorms. It seems there was always at least one good one while we would be out there. My brother didn't mind them but I was terrified of the noise and flashes. My mother would tell me stories of when she was a little girl and sit with me until the cool of the percale and the tick and whirl of the ceiling fan would lull me to sleep.


Mrs. Flinger said...

Ohhh, I remember! I remember! I have those same memories of my mom in the heat of Texas telling me stories, too.

So well written. Honestly.

Anne said...

What a beautifully written post. I love everything about it, especially the descriptions involving corn and tomoatoes. I know eactly what you mean. Lovely.