Sunday, June 5, 2011

a summer ramble

  The warm weather and approaching summer season always make me want to do certain things. Just like spring gives me the cleaning bug, summer still to me is about reading lots of books, preferably outside in the sun, and most preferably near a body of water. Right now, this amounts to sitting out on our back patio, roughly the size of a powder room, with the hose running over my feet. My flower bed and a few other potted flowers help the scenery out a bit, (the mint adding to a nice smell in the breeze), but really, my mind does most of the work in creating a little oasis. All it takes is; 1. the book and a towel or chair, 2. some nice smelling sun oil or lotion, 3. a cold drink, and of course, some water. I even enjoy smell of the water on the cement.

All of this takes me right to my backyard on Crescent Ave. It also reminds me of my mother, who, God rest her soul, had a routine she followed for summer that went something like this. 1. Always up by 7AM no matter what, washed, dressed, makeup on.  Mornings she would do housework, watch maybe a game show on tv, then mid morning, get her bathing suit on and go out to the pool. We got a 4 foot above ground pool when I was about seven years old. My mom was actually kind of afraid of water that was over her head or if she couldn't hold on to something, but loved water in general. We have a picture of her when she was somewhere in her 30's sitting on a raft in the ocean. The funny part of it, I was told, was that the water under her was about a foot deep.

Anyway, I associate my mother and those summer days with sun, water, and the smell of suntan lotion. We had a row of chairs down the side of the yard, and like you may have "your" chair in the living room, she sure did have hers out in the yard. A little side table for drinks and snacks. Definitely no umbrella! No sir. We were out there to get sun, not avoid it. Her skin turned a deep reddish brown every year. We have Native American ancestry, mixed in with the Irish and German from my dad's side. I get that color too, only not as dark as she. I would sit out too, with a book, or even float around the pool on a raft with said book. I only dropped them in once or twice in my Reading While Floating career.

When I got a little older, I took over the morning vacuuming  of the pool; balancing on the edge and walking around. Many days I would take an early swim. I eventually became a competitive swimmer, and still enjoy lap swimming whenever I can. (though the swimming I did in that pool was more like turning practice).

Funny, my parents never pushed me to get a summer job, though eventually I did, especially the summer before college. I still feel the need to slow the pace when the kids get out of school. We always frequent the library more and attempt to get to a pool whenever possible. The city pools are eh, so-so, but worth whatever unpleasantness if it gets us a swim.

It's nice to feel that connection to my mother and my growing up years, and I guess she instilled in me well the beauty of the summer outdoors. The fish part I think just developed. I also seem to need the quiet, the time alone, as much as the location and setting.

This, of course, is the ultimate in sun/book/chair therapy. Whenever it can be achieved, go for it.

But for now, this

plus this


Is just fine.


  1. This may be my favorite post so far. I love hearing about your childhood and your parents. I don't remember them at all so it's nice to hear stories like this and feel connected to them in a small way. I did not inherit your fish-ness but it sounds like I may have inherited her love of soaking up the rays.

  2. Aw, thanks! I think I did show you the floating on the raft pic when you guys were here. She kind of looked pin-up-y. Ans Kaden def got the fish gene :)

  3. ~and yes, all those tall things in the garden are mint.

  4. Summer is great for reading. I'm currently reading a great little novel called "Silence" by a Catholic Japanese writer named Shusaku Endo. It might be something you'd like. Just google it and read the Wikipedia entry. I'm about a third of the way through and I'm hooked. Unfortunately it might not be available at a library.

    Nice blog. I always love those reminiscent stories of one's youth.

  5. That does sound interesting, I will look for it. I also never got to read He Leadeth Me, by Fr.Walter Ciszek during Lent. That also seems like I will not be able to find it in the Philadelphia Free Library system. Amazon, here I come! Summer is when I allow myself to read novels also, Steven King, Dean Koontz, Jodi Piccoult. I even found Pinheads and Patriots, by Bill O'Reilly. That was a surprise! I am curious to read it.

  6. Oh and I read Siddhartha last summer, get this, the Pope recommended it! lol It was good!

  7. The Pope recommended Siddartha by Herman Hesse? Now that is strange. I have a number of my literature blog friends who think very highly of Hesse. I have not read that book but it does come highly recommended. Last year i read Steppenwolf by Hesse and thought it was not too good. So I was a bit disappointed despite Hesse's reputation. But if both the Pope and you recommend Siddhartha, I will have to put it on my reading list.