(Theoretically, summer will return to the polar-vortex-battered Northern Hemisphere. What are you looking forward to doing this summer? If you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, what are your fondest memories of Summer past?)
I don’t live in the Southern Hemisphere, but I do have some wonderful memories of summers past. This summer, I’m looking forward to a road trip to see some grandkids out west, along with some sightseeing and old friends of Terry’s. But that’s not a memory yet.
One of the best summers I ever had was when I was 10 years old. We had moved from Minnesota to the Portland, Oregon area so my dad could attend seminary out there. I thought it was paradise. Very little humidity. No mosquitoes. Light rain in the early morning, clear blue skies and bearable temperatures the rest of the day. We lived in a suburb of Portland that year, and it was a nice little town more out in the country than in the city. We had easy access to Mt. Hood, the Oregon coast, and the Portland Rose Gardens, among other wonderful things.
I’d never seen an ocean before. I’d never lived an hour away from a mountain, or at least not that I remembered. I was born in Colorado, but I was only two when we moved from there to Minnesota. I’d never seen anything like those rose gardens. Smelled like heaven, just too beautiful to describe.
On a daily basis, however, for the first time in my life, I got to go swimming just about every weekday of the summer. Every day, a couple of neighbor kids and my sister and I walked the mile or so to the municipal pool, and spent the whole afternoon enjoying the water and the sun. I learned to swim. I learned to dive. We picked the blackberries that grew wild along the roadside. We got as brown as berries.
After several hours at the pool and the leisurely walk home, we still had time to relax before supper. We played ball. We built a treehouse in a very sappy pine tree. I remember watching the very first satellite as it tracked across our sky. That was quite a momentuous event! Sputnik beat America into space, and my dad pointed it out when it traveled across our night sky for the first time.
We spent my 10th birthday on Mount Hood, walking the trails and enjoying a picnic in the woods. We went to the coast. Where I live now, we talk about going down the shore, but in Oregon you went to the coast. I was overwhelmed that first time. My dad warned us about going out too far, told us about the undertow that could grab an unsuspecting wader and pull her out to sea. Scared me out of going in above my knees! I was just amazed at how much water; water that you couldn’t even fathom. I loved the Oregon coast because it was wild. Lots of rocks, lots of crashing waves and far-reaching spray. I loved being on a cliff high above it all, lying on my stomach on the grass and watching as wave after wave flung itself against the rocks and the cliff base. Loved the sun on the water, the rhythm of the breakers, the smell of the ocean and the hard, wet sand. Loved it all.
We lived there for five years. After that first year, we moved into Portland and things changed a lot. Not bad changes, just normal life changes. I’ve never forgotten that first summer there, though, and I’m thankful I got to live it.