Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Theme Thursday: Summer

Write about it? It's all around me. Or it was, until today, when winter came back for a little visit. That only made me appreciate the glorious weather of the last few weeks - and gave the landscape a much-needed soaking.

While I was out walking last night, I thought about Theme Thursday. What could I tell you? Summer is summer, right? Wrong. "Summer", the generic term, may bring the same picture to all our minds - heat, sunshine, bugs, school's out...but as I look back over my life, I see that there are two summers that left a bigger impression than the others, because each one featured an event, whether large or small, that no other summer offered.

There was the summer of 1963, when I lay on the beach with my cousin and listened to Nat King Cole sing Lazy Hazy Crazy Days of Summer (oh, and that's me on the cover) -

To this day, when I hear that song, I smell suntan lotion, and I see sunlight reflecting off sand and water.

Then there was the summer in the early seventies when I was living on a farm. There were several children on the farm, and we had pretty strict rules about what they could do - for their own safety. One of the rules was "NO SWINGING FROM THE ROPES IN THE BARN!"

Then came haying time. The bunch of us adult(ish) types spent the day out in the fields, throwing 50-pound bales of hay up onto the wagon. It was hot out, and humid, and buggy, (and hot). By the end of the day, we had passed beyond fatigue to a kind of giddiness bordering on insanity. Hay safely stacked in the barn, we sat around on the lower bales and wondered whether we would live until morning. Then somebody (not I) idly grabbed one of the ropes that hung from the ceiling of the 100-year old barn. He swung back and forth on it. I watched him, thinking, gee that looks like fun. My turn! When he landed, I grabbed the rope and swung. I looked up...

I must interrupt my narrative to explain something. In the old days, a farmer would strip the branches off small trees and hoist those trees up to the rafters of the barn, producing a rustic shelf on which to stack things. I'm not sure what things they stacked up there, and fortunately there were no things stacked on the trees that lay on the rafters of this particular barn. So, to continue...

...and as I looked up, there was a little clunk as, far over my head, the rope caught a knot on one of the trees. As the rope continued to swing, the tree went with it. One end of the tree swept past the rafter on which it had been resting, and as the rope swung back, the tree came along for the ride. It all happened so fast, all I had time to do was get to the ground somehow and raise my left arm so that when the tree landed, it didn't land directly on my head. It hit my arm near the elbow, then rolled down my forearm and caught my head a glancing blow.

This is what happened next. I fell down. I got up. I got up very quickly and neatly. It was almost as if I bounced off the floor.

That's what I thought, anyway. I'm told I was actually unconscious for a couple of minutes before I bounced back up.

I was pretty crunchy in those days. I didn't go to the hospital. I didn't even go to see a doctor. I pierced some Vitamin E capsules and smeared the contents on my various abrasions, and I took extra brewer's yeast - for the B vitamins. Two days later, when I returned to work, someone asked whether I had been hit by a car. I must have been a sight.

Not long after my adventure, I talked on the phone to my older sister, who lives in Wyoming. I told her what had happened. She got it wrong. Maybe I was mumbling, what with the head injury and all. I told her that I had gotten hurt while I was swinging from a rope in a barn.

This is what my sister told everyone she knew:

"Would you believe, my prissy little sister hurt herself swinging from a rope in a bar?"

It was years before we got that little misunderstanding straightened out. It's a wonder I ever had the courage to show my face in Wyoming again, but I did. And I'm going to do it again in a few weeks, drive over the mountains and into Wyoming to visit my big sister. I can't think of any better way to spend the summer than visiting people I love, and who love me back - even if they think I'm prissy.

I wanted to leave you with one more summer song - and I was going to post Gershwin's Summertime - but then I remembered that there was one more truly memorable summer, one which speaks for itself:

For more Theme Thursday posts, click here.


Anonymous said...

Oh Sandra, what a great post this was! I love when bloggers, or anyone else for that matter, takes a walk down memory lane and recalls things like being called a "prissy sister" who swings on a rope in a bar! That made me laugh SO hard!
Lovely pic of you by the way. You are quite the glam sunbather!

Brian Miller said...

great memories, accentuated by the tunes! happy summer and TT!

Sandra Leigh said...

Oops. Thanks, Audrey. I guess I should put a little disclaimer in there. I lied. That's not really a picture of me. I'm too prissy to pose like that. ;>)

Good morning, Brian, and thank you. Happy TT to you, too.

JGH said...

Reading this post you sound anything but prissy! I have a photo of myself like that, too. I'm in a bikini on waterskis holding a big bouquet - just like Esther Williams ;-)

Anonymous said...

Sandra just to note a few things( if you please ):

1. great music pics( both but especially Nat )

2. that's one hawt pic(!)

3. never trust siblings to get the story straight. After all if it was a bar, you might've landed in the nick, wot?

4. 'tis good to put in a hard day's work, isn't it?

5. great post and story! :)

Wings said...

Great post! Thanks for sharing the memories and two very cool songs! Listened to both of them, hadn't heard them in far too long. Thanks!

willow said...

Great topic for TT. Thanks for the suggestion and nice post, as well.

Sandra Leigh said...

JGH, no, I'm not prissy, but honestly, that's not really a picture of me (sadly). It came with the YouTube video.

Subby, thank you. I've somehow managed to achieve old age without ever actually getting thrown in the clink!

Wings, I'm glad you enjoyed the songs.

Willow - I wrinkled my brow when I read your comment, then remembered - Oh, yeah, that was my suggestion! Short little span of attention.

California Girl said...

wonderful snapshots of your life. i've never thrown hay bales but you make me long for it!

The Silver Fox said...

Great story. Glad you lived to tell it! Over on my blog, I listed a bunch of summertime songs, but not the two you showcased! Both great tunes, although, like Subby, I prefer the Cole song (and that's in spite of really liking the Spoonful tune!). I remember hearing it as a kid. There weren't too many pop songs that actually mentioned beer!

Sandra Leigh said...

No, no, California Girl - They weighed FIFTY POUNDS EACH!

Silver Fox, I'm just beginning to make my way through Theme Thursday - I look forward to hearing your songs. Both the songs I posted have great sentimental value for me, and I'd have a hard time choosing between them.

Kathryn Magendie said...

This made me laugh! We used to play in the barn at my granny's in arkansas (my adoptive granny!) and it's a wonder we didn't get hurt a whole lot more than we probably did!

What fun post -- Summer!

Debbie said...

I think it speaks well of you that your sister thought you were capable of swinging from a rope in a bar!

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Hi Sandra!

Glad you were able to bounce back after being clobbered by that tree! Oh my!

I always associate the Luvin Spoonful song "Summer In The City" with my early teen summers.

I'm visiting Wyoming this summer --can't wait to see the wide open range.

Sandra Leigh said...

Kathryn, at least we kept the children from hurting themselves. Do as I say, not as I do. Sigh.

Debbie, I try to keep my big sister guessing, but I did a better-than-usual job that time.

Pat, will you be in Wyoming in July? If you see a 24 foot Class C with B.C. licence plates, honk vigorously and wave - we'll stop for a cuppa..

Liza said...

That's hilarious! "Swinging from a rope in a bar." Now, that's one huge misunderstanding. Yet, great that you can laugh at it now. Have wonderful time on your visit and the music was such a great touch to the stories.

Anonymous said...

I knew it was 'goin' south' when you said the "no swinging on ropes in the barn" rule. Sure enough!

Nice tunes, and btw, you ain't changed that much since that Nat King Cole album cover shot! ;-)

Sandra Leigh said...

Thank you, Liza - and A. Decker - ROTFLMAO! Right.

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