Monday 13 August 2018

Poetry Monday: Favourite Summer Memory

It's Poetry Monday, and this week's theme is "your favourite summer memory."

Join Diane, Delores and me while we sift through our memory storage units and weigh all the thoughts we find there about summers past. Excuse us, please, if we leave in our wake some sand, pressed flowers, and the smell of bug spray.

Hey, you can write a poem, too! Put it in the comment box on any of our blogs, or post it on your own blog if you'd rather. Just leave us a little map (your blog address) in the comments so we can find your blog and cheer you on.

I have a lot of good summer memories from when I was growing up, but the older I got the more the sun and heat seemed to bother me. This poem started out as a record of all my summer memories, but gradually went from happy to horrible as I got older and more bothered, which seems to be in direct opposition to the theme of "favourite" summer memory!

So I pared it back a bit.

When I attended university in the late 1970's, most degrees required three years of study. The school year ran from September to April, and the months of May to August were spent working to help finance the rest of the year. This poem describes snapshots from those two summers, when I was eighteen and nineteen years old, respectively.

* * * * *

Wind and Rain

I recall
With the sort of fondness that more than forty years' distance can bring
The two summers that marked the breaks
In my years of so-called higher learning.

One spent slinging Colonel Sanders' chicken
Making buckets and buckets of Dixie coleslaw
And working frantic overtime one August supper hour
After a hurricane blew through and took out the power
In every part of town and in every restaurant except ours.

And one spent in a corporate job
Boarding with an elderly woman who became a treasured friend.
I felt so grown-up, trotting off to work in the cool of a small-town morning
Yet so lonely, away from my family and school friends.
One day I dashed home for lunch, barefoot along the sidewalk, new sandals in my hand
So they would not be ruined in the sudden summer rain.

How can these scenes -- so mundane, so unimportant, so unremarkable --
Be so very, very clear
So very, very far in my then-future?

(Photo: Pixabay)


What's YOUR favourite summer memory? Or any summer memory? I'm not picky!

Hope you have a good week ahead. Our temperatures have moderated a wee little bit, so I'm pretty sure I'm going to enjoy my week.

Oh dear, I hope I didn't just put a hex on myself . . . !

Update: Next weeks theme will be about my co-conspirators in rhyme crime -- Diane and Delores!! Should be fun, and I hope I can do justice to the topic :)


Yorkshire Pudding said...


Barefoot running down to the sea
With the sun on my back
That once was me.
As I recall we played in the sand
Where a china clay stream
Departed the land
Those Cornwall days were so happy and free
A gang of brothers, our Mum, Dad and me.

dinthebeast said...

OK, I have two of them for you:
First, there was the fourth of July weekend in 1976. I was 15 and had my first full-time job, and I lived to race motorcycles, having picked up the guitar too recently to have been taken over by them yet.
We were contesting a series of night races just south of Redding (the town that's currently on fire) in Anderson, and we stopped in a park in Redding on the way where they were having a big celebration (1976 was the bi-centennial of the USA) and met some of our racer friends and feasted on some of the pork from the pig-roast.
There was something about that weekend that felt like having arrived. I finally had all of the protective gear that motocross racers wear, and standing around in the stifling heat in my leathers and boots and Honda jersey with my name on it, drinking iced Gatorade with the other racers made me feel like I belonged with them, like I wasn't just pretending any more. It's a feeling I've only rarely encountered in this life, and it really stuck with me.
And second, there was thirty five years ago today (it will be today by the time you read this) August 13, 1983. Briana and I drove to the Bay Area to see Peter Gabriel play at the Greek Theater in Berkeley.
It was a beautiful summer evening, the Greek Theater is a really special place anyway, and that was the first time I had ever been there, and Peter Gabriel played the best rock concert I ever saw. Still, out of a couple hundred of them I've seen, I still think that was the best.
Anyway, about half way through, it began to dawn on both of us that we needed to live in the Bay Area, and preferably together.
We arrived in April of 1984, and are still here. For now, anyway; we have to move later this year, and living in the East Bay on our income is a dicey proposition, but if we can manage it, we will.

-Doug in Oakland

River said...

I have several favourite summer memories; one is being at the beach just after sunset when it wasn't fully dark and enjoying having most of the water to myself after families had gone home; another, at the beach again, but being underwater during a summer rain and watching from below as the raindrops hit the surface; many years later another memory of summer lunchtimes spent with friends on the river all sitting in or hanging on to a giant inner tube off one of the milk tankers that brought milk to the cheese factory daily.

baili said...

This is so nice that you pushed away the bad memories of your summers dear Jenny and created such lovely sweet poetry!

You painted those rainy moments so well. I can imagine the beautiful teenage girl walking on side walk way while holding sandals in the hand :)

Glad your weather is turning for good my friend!
Wishing you a happy soothing springy week! Blessings!

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

Summers are meant for memories and fun. I have too many (thankfully) and they all involve family and friends. I have been blessed.

jenny_o said...

I can see it clearly, YP. "Happy and free" describes my childhood summers too. I wish all children could have that.

jenny_o said...

Ah . . . what great memories those are! That feeling of having arrived - I know that one myself. And your concert memories are magic. I think congratulations are in order on this August 13th :) And, have you heard this tune (new-ish, I think) from Peter Gabriel? Briony ( linked to it recently and it has haunted me ever since. I hope you find a good place at the right price to move to.

jenny_o said...

Those do sound like highlight memories - so neat to be underwater in the rain. It sounds like you might have spent a lot of time at the beach over the years.

jenny_o said...

Thank you, baili - I was never beautiful, but I was young! And kind of poor, so I couldn't afford to ruin my sandals :) This week is so much better with less humidity. More soothing, as you have put it. I hope yours is the same.

jenny_o said...

Is it possible to have too many good memories? I hope not! I suspect that you contributed to all those good times by making the most of every day.

Marie Smith said...

My favourite summer memories are of the long summer days playing with my friends. But even those days weren’t long enough to do everything we wanted to do.

Love your poem Jenny. Great memories!

jenny_o said...

Thanks, Marie - and I agree, I think my best memories are from when I was young. No job, no meals to get, just playing and eating the occasional popsicle :)

Diane Stringam Tolley said...

Pivotal, both of them. And now they are clear to me, too! :)

jenny_o said...

I try not to be too obscure - ha ha!

River said...

From age 6 to 16 the beach was a ten minute walk from my home.

Terry said...

My mum and dad took us camping. It was great. That’s what I remember. We were allowed to explore the area on our own.

Martha said...

That is really lovely! I was able to visualize you running through the rain with sandals in hand.

I have so many wonderful memories from my early years that whenever they spring to mind, I feel very overwhelmed. And nostalgic. And even feel an ache in my heart missing those days.

Steve Reed said...

It's funny what stays with us -- even things that seem relatively mundane and simple sometimes make a deep imprint. My favorite summer memory are the rainstorms that strike Tampa every afternoon in July and August. I remember one in particular when I was visiting my mom's office, and I had my camera with me, and I burned up a whole roll of film on the rain. And the pictures didn't capture the power of the storm at all. I was so disappointed!

jenny_o said...

Camping is a summer activity that kids always seem to enjoy. Freedom and new things to explore!

jenny_o said...

I know; I feel that too, Martha. But . . . we can always re-visit those times in our minds. No one can take that away. (only partly helps, though, right?)

jenny_o said...

And it cost money to buy film and have it developed - not like today with digital photos! I hear you.

Diane Henders said...

My summer memories mostly blur into recollections of heat, humidity, mosquitoes, and wood ticks (I grew up in rural Manitoba). I remember sweating in the garden, swimming in the dugout, getting sunburned, running barefoot until my feet were as hard as horse hooves, and picking flowers from the garden and wrapping their stems in wet Kleenex and tinfoil to present as a corsage to Mom or Grandma or a female guest.

And one magic morning when I was a teenager I woke around 4:00 AM and looked out to see a perfect coral-coloured sunrise in a crystal-clear sky. The dugout was glassy, reflecting like a mirror, with delicate wisps of mist hanging over it; and everything glowed with those glorious sunrise colours. I got out of bed, grabbed the camera, crept out of the house without waking anyone, and spent half an hour taking pictures in the absolute silence of a country morning, accompanied only by birdsong.

I still have the photos, and even though a dugout and some grain bins aren't very inspiring subjects to anyone else, I still feel peaceful and happy looking at them. Only a few short years later Mom died of cancer and everything changed; but just then all was right with the world and those few glowing minutes of beauty and solitude were absolutely, breathtakingly perfect.

jenny_o said...

And you took me there with you. Some things are as clear as a bell in our mind's eye, aren't they? Lovely.

I did chuckle at "feet as hard as horse hooves"!

dinthebeast said...

No, I hadn't heard that song. Thank you so much. He seems to be wearing his age better than most of my music heroes, and I still like the music he makes after all of these years.

-Doug in Oakland

LL Cool Joe said...

I loved your summer memories. I remember the moment when I saw my partner as more than just a friend on a summer camp. I was 18, my partner was 17. I thought at that moment "I think I'm going to spend the rest of my life with you." We are still together. God knows how. :D

jenny_o said...

You must be doing something right, Joey - that doesn't happen without hard work at times. It's very moving that you realized she was the one at that moment, that early in life, and not surprising that you still remember it clearly.