July is always a month when I realize once again how fast time passes. What in my mind was only yesterday was in fact nearly 30 years ago. I try not to recall how long ago my parents died or my siblings. I try instead to place “time marks” on birthdays, anniversaries, and good memories.
I often pause in the month of June to remember the times spent in summer revivals, baptisms in the creeks, swimming under the train trestle near the house. I think about carrying those six beverage bottles back to Cox Service Station for those cold cokes and hanging clothes on the long lines in the backyard.
This week as I scurried around picking up items that were on my list, I realized too many children were missing out on what I considered fun aspects of summer. They were picking up wagon loads of paraphernalia to go to the beach or they were just killing time until the next scheduled event. They spend much of their summer being entertained and the costs for play activities and camps are climbing every year.
Our times were slow, and we looked forward to the simple. There were the church homecomings that meant tables laden with special recipes each lady made each year. Aunt Frances was in charge of the coconut cake with divinity frosting, and Mother was the master of the caramel icing. Pat did the red velvet cake, and Christine made the best pies. It was a day we looked forward to each year knowing lifelong friends would come back.
Once that event was over we anticipated the family reunion, usually in August. Family we hardly knew would arrive at a campground in Covington and the tables buckled with the enormity of food. I met an aunt called “big Fat Aunt Allie" and her brother that “was not quite right." Others I cannot even begin to recall. Before the day was over we were nasty, tired, and filled-to-overflowing with good food.
Before the end of August, there would be another event that was a baptism down by the creek. I was scared to death that the frail minister would drop me and I would be lost forever in that creek. To this day I can’t believe the minister had on a white shirt and tie and I had on my Sunday dress. I suppose it showed respect for the process of faith; however, I think “sprinkling” with water does the same job.
This week I watched these same activities still being done by many churches and families. In my mind’s eye, I can see my grandparents and how happy they were to have us for these special times. I remember my own parents and the plans they always made to attend these events. I even remember my words: “Are we there yet?”
July has a way of reminding me of how very special my life was as a child.