We all have certain memories from childhood that stand out in our minds from all the rest. Moments that seem to sum up the entire beginnings of our existence in this lovable-faulty world of ours. Some of mine are crisp and perfectly clear to me. They couldn't be any clearer if I had a snapshot in my hands to look back on and remember with, and others are hazy, seen through the thin veil that separates fantasy from reality. Sometimes I wonder how much I was really seeing of either side.
The funny thing about most of my early memories is that they all are set in summer. I can't for the life of me seem to think of one that wasn't. Oh, I know that I do have some, but my early, early memories seem to be of things that happened in summertime...or else I just remember them that way.
I remember the coolness of our front steps under my skin as my sister and I sat there eating watermelon to our heart's content, having contests to see who could spit seeds the farthest or the most at one time. Busy "spitting" until we were tired or ran out of watermelon; with sticky red juice dripping down our chins and across our hands.
I remember the peach pies with Dream Whip that we would make when I was a little girl. Cool from the refrigerator, and lovely in their yellow-orange peachy goodness, this is one of those memories you can taste. I long for the sound of my extended family's voices--noisy and overpowering at times--to be around me, just as they were that one summer evening ever so long ago, as we all sat around sharing those lovely pies. I wouldn't even care to talk...it would be enough to listen to them; to hear their excited chattering around me once again; all of us together...just as it used to be.
I remember the sharp loveliness and the little catch in my throat I had as I looked up at the night sky, studded with stars that looked like a million tiny diamonds shimmering down at me. Feeling so small, but so close to God that I could reach up and touch His fingertips if I only tried.
I remember running around with cousins after dark, mosquito-bitten, but too busy catching elusive fireflies between fingertips to care; squealing as they tickled my palms and fairly throwing them into the jar we were collecting them in. The flash of fireflies against the dark night sky is like nothing else I've ever seen--like watching thousands of cameras with their flashes going off all at once.
I remember groaning when Mama called us to come in from outdoors, not realizing how tired we really were until we had been tumbled into our pajamas and tucked into bed, eyelids heavy with dreams.
I remember my mother's soft kiss as she whispered in my ear the song she sang to me nearly every night, and I remember how I would pretend that I was asleep, and she would pretend that I was asleep--I, for the sake of being tucked into bed, and she, for the sake that I could be tucked into bed sooner. And for many years I truthfully thought I tricked her...
I remember all of these things so clearly...so fondly, with a touch of something that is almost painfully sweet. There is nothing quite like a happy childhood.
It's growing close to that time of year again, when I begin to get strange longings for root beer and watermelon, and wish to sleep out under the stars. And all I can think of is how thankful I am to be alive; to be so blessed that I have the chance to have another happy summer; to be able to spend this time with my family that I love so much.
I'm a strange sort of a girl who thinks that nothing could be better.