Hot July Days

DSC09981July days take me back to my childhood in the Maine countryside.  I am nine years old and my older brother and I have been rolling old car tires on the “tarred” road all morning. Our hands are blackened to match our bare feet, which are getting hotter as the noon sun hits the road. We roll the tires up to our little house, change into what passes for a “bathing suit” and run across my grandmother’s field to jump into the little beach she owns.  We know the limit we can swim; there is a mark in the bottom of the pond where feet have trod before and past that is no man’s land. High bush blueberries hang over the bank and we step around sticks and rocks in the water to have a feast.

There is still time for us to go home, dry off and have our chores done before our parents come home from the factory. The wood stove has to be started, potatoes peeled and kettle put on to heat the water for coffee. We have no running water. My brother says we do because he runs to my grandmother’s for a pail or two every day. There is no electricity nor phone.

My younger brother and I often take our white enameled cups up on the “flat”, sit in the sand by the side of the road and fill them with the tiny strawberries growing at the edge of the grass. We hurry home with great anticipation of a fine mid-day meal. We pour canned milk and sprinkle sugar sparingly over the berries and twirl our spoons until the milk is a bright pink and then, very slowly, let the treat trickle over our tongues.

There is the path, through the woods, to my cousins’ house…past the red trillium growing, around a corner where there is the white trillium, past the ledge, over a tiny bog, around a corner and there is the house where tree house plans are made and one act plays carried out on a picnic table. There are always the marble games in the sand by the side of the road.  Simple times when everyone was in the same boat, all looking for a set of oars. A few  years ago, I wrote a poem about these simple times:

Country Girl

We children just the same

wore ragged clothes but knew no shame.

How many times I dug your name

in the sand by the side of the road.

You carved a wooden heart for me

from some discarded old birch tree.

I dug your name for all to see

in the sand by the side of the road.

We rolled our tires, fingers black.

Now I laugh in looking back,

we ate lunch from a paper sack

in the sand by the side of the road.

We’re older now. Our lives complete

we both have children grown and sweet.

How much they’ve missed in this concrete

….no sand by the side of the road.



2 thoughts on “Hot July Days

  1. Sharon says:

    I just love this, Sandy. Brought back memories of childhood. And you are so right, today’s children have missed so much with no sand at the side of the road. Wonderful blog.


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