These are the hot summer days.
It doesn't seem so long ago when summertime meant no homework, no responsibilities, and lots and lots of playing. My fair face would turn beet red with my vigorous play and my wispy white hair would curl into sweaty little ringlets. Summertime also meant frequent trips to Tug Lake in Wisconsin, home to Gram and Grampa.
It would be the end of the day, the sun in the western sky. Charlotte would still be swimming in Tug Lake like a minnow and Diggy was just a little toddler being passed around to the next adoring adult. I would always get cold and pruney from swimming too long so I would sit with the adults in the yard on the sticky, aqua blue, padded vinyl lawn furniture and drink a Fresca out of the bottle ~ that was back in the day when Fresca had real fruit peel bits floating in it. Then I would ask my grandma if I could listen to the stereo.
Being the doting grandma she was we'd go inside, and she'd fire up the fancy console with my favorite record. She'd then return to the lakeside gathering outside, leaving me to what would turn into one of the most nostalgic memories of my life.
The sun reflected off the waves of the lake through the large windows of the house, throwing shimmering images through the whole room. The indoor air felt warm to my lake-chilled body. I was probably eight or nine years old. I felt independent all alone away from the family, and yet I was embraced in a comfortable and safe environment. My choice of music every time was none other than Steve and Eydie, Real True Lovin'.
When I was a young teenager I would reminisce with Gram about those days when she would play the fancy stereo for me. I asked her with the most innocent of intentions, "when you die can I have your Steve and Eydie record?"
One day when I was well into my thirties Gram gave me the record. "Here you go, honey. You don't have to wait until I die to have this." She remembered, before she would inevitably be unable to.
When I sit in my rumpus room during warm summer evenings I see the flickering shadows of the trees cast along the floor and walls by the setting sun and am reminded of Tug Lake and the sparkly diamond waters of my childhood.
I still feel like that little girl when I hear this song, sometimes sadly longing for the carefreeness of childhood. Mostly I'm reminded that it was those carefree days, my fun and accommodating grandma, and Steve and Eydie at sunset that contributed to the person I am today. For all those things I'm grateful.
What memories does summertime bring to you?