Summer Memories

 

When I was a kid, the local pool had specific blocks of time in which it was open to the public. A single quarter would get you into one of the two-hour sessions. Despite my extremely sunburn-prone skin, my sister and I often got our mother to let us go for both sessions. There was a 20- to 30-minute break between the two sessions in which we had plenty of time to run two blocks over to the little grocery store and grab some snacks, charging them to Mom’s account. We usually got a Yoo-Hoo and a Moon Pie apiece, snarfed them down as quickly as possible, then ran back to the pool to camp out in the much cooler ladies’ locker room while waiting for the second session to start.

My sister and I lived in the pool as much as possible during the summer. We especially got excited for family reunion time every other June. We got to have three full days in the pool with our distant cousins while the adults visited. Occasionally, I’d be so sunburnt halfway through Day Two that my mother and grandmother would ban me from the pool, so I’d stay indoors with the adults and play cards.

One of my favorite things about summer was going to my grandparent’s cabin over on Lake Norfork. My grandpa kept his boat out in the stall, just down the road from their cabin. The trip took about three hours one way from our house to the cabin, and we had certain landmarks that we’d look out for on the way:

  • the “secret” Hancock camping spot,
  • the confederate flag store in Imboden,
  • the Belgian waffle place in Hardy that we never passed at mealtime,
  • the town of Highland with the rebels that our band director eventually moved to,
  • the town of Salem where I used to think was the Salem where they burned witches,
  • the town of Ash Flat where the Walmart bathroom has a smell we named “crapples,”
  • the “A” fence,
  • the crappy laundromat,
  • the dog kennels, where I’m fairly certain the dogs were used in illegal dog fighting because they were incredibly aggressive,
  • the donkey house,
  • the giant A-frame cabin next to the little road we turned off on to get to the cabin

    Image result for corner booth hardy ar

    The Corner Booth restaurant in Hardy, AR that specializes in Belgian waffles. We kids eventually stopped there on our way back from the family reunion once. It’s filled with creepy dolls!

Finally, we rejoiced at the sight of the green fish sign that read “Young,” cheerfully greeting us at the end of our long journey.

I always claimed the bedroom on the front porch. Despite the heat outdoors, the bed side of the front porch had a shade tree just outside, so some open windows made it a perfect temperature at night. I also liked the fact that it was on the other side of the house from my parents, so I could sit up late, reading one of the many books my grandmother had stashed in the nightstand.

We went fishing a lot with my grandfather, though he didn’t take me for a long while after I lost several poles one summer. There were spots on the lake that you could see 20 feet down into the moss and habitats of the creatures living there. We would pack baloney sandwiches on white bread.

When we got older, my father would take us out on tubes. His greatest delight was trying to fling us off those things by crisscrossing through the waves he’d made.

Image result for if your dad didn't try to sling you off that tube into another dimension

My absolute favorite thing about the summer though: honeysuckle. You always know it’s the beginning of summer in Arkansas when you can smell the honeysuckle blooming as the sun sets.

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There are 17 comments.

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  1. Instugator Thatcher
    Instugator
    @Instugator

    I had a place like that when I grew up. I always loved spending my summertime at my Aunt Lisa’s house on Lake Guntersville.

    • #1
  2. Judge Mental Member
    Judge Mental
    @JudgeMental

    We had landmarks on the way to grandma’s too.

    • #2
  3. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Heh, landmarks on the way to my grandmother’s were cities like Louisville. Of course, it was a very long drive at 826 miles.

    • #3
  4. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    This conversation is part of our Group Writing Series under February’s theme of “We Need a Little Summer.” In March, our theme will be Feats of Strength. If you have something to write about any sort of feat of strength (physical, mental, spiritual), why not come visit our schedule and sign-up sheet and pick an open day to share your tale?

    • #4
  5. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    J.D. Snapp: Image result for corner booth hardy arThe Corner Booth restaurant in Hardy, AR that specializes in Belgian waffles. We kids eventually stopped there on our way back from the family reunion once. It’s filled with creepy dolls!

    You did grow up right close to where my father lives now.

    • #5
  6. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    I built an arbor over a back patio, and really, really, really wanted to have honeysuckle grow up over it, but my wife thinks it’s a weed, so we never did.

    • #6
  7. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Most of my time in Arkansas was way to the west of there. Grandpa moved to Rogers after he died so he could run around Beaver Lake on his boat.

    • #7
  8. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    Percival (View Comment):
    Most of my time in Arkansas was way to the west of there. Grandpa moved to Rogers after he died so he could run around Beaver Lake on his boat.

    That must have been interesting.

    • #8
  9. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):
    Most of my time in Arkansas was way to the west of there. Grandpa moved to Rogers after he died so he could run around Beaver Lake on his boat.

    That must have been interesting.

    Pea Ridge Battlefield wasn’t far away, here was a Daisy BB-gun factory, plus fishing and zipping up and down the lake with Grandpa … yeah, it was fun.

    • #9
  10. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    Sorry, Percival  I was being snarky.  I was referring to the “after he died” part.

    • #10
  11. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Randy Webster (View Comment):
    Sorry, Percival I was being snarky. I was referring to the “after he died” part.

    Sorry. “After he retired.” Don’tcomment before coffee.

    • #11
  12. Muleskinner Member
    Muleskinner
    @Muleskinner

    Judge Mental (View Comment):
    We had landmarks on the way to grandma’s too.

    We had the cellar door, and the mulberry post I nailed a basketball hoop to.

    • #12
  13. J.D. Snapp Coolidge
    J.D. Snapp
    @JulieSnapp

    Arahant (View Comment):

    J.D. Snapp: Image result for corner booth hardy arThe Corner Booth restaurant in Hardy, AR that specializes in Belgian waffles. We kids eventually stopped there on our way back from the family reunion once. It’s filled with creepy dolls!

    You did grow up right close to where my father lives now.

    I did! :) Terry and I drive through Springfield at least twice a year.

    • #13
  14. J.D. Snapp Coolidge
    J.D. Snapp
    @JulieSnapp

    Randy Webster (View Comment):
    I built an arbor over a back patio, and really, really, really wanted to have honeysuckle grow up over it, but my wife thinks it’s a weed, so we never did.

    I have plans to grow honeysuckle up my trellis this summer. I have a north-facing front porch and we’re the last zone it will grow in.

    • #14
  15. J.D. Snapp Coolidge
    J.D. Snapp
    @JulieSnapp

    Percival (View Comment):
    Most of my time in Arkansas was way to the west of there. Grandpa moved to Rogers after he died so he could run around Beaver Lake on his boat.

    That’s a beautiful part of the state. We used to go over to Eureka Springs during the summer as well to see the Passion Play at Christ of the Ozarks. I called that statue White Jesus and I burned my hand on it one summer.

    • #15
  16. Clavius Thatcher
    Clavius
    @Clavius

    Great story.  Reminds me of Conway Lake, in Michigan.

    • #16
  17. Nick H Coolidge
    Nick H
    @NickH

    The Ozarks and the surrounding area are the best part of the country to grow up in. I might be a bit biased. :)

    • #17
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