Monday, June 20, 2016

Summer Round Here

I've been writing since 2006. This week the writing prompt I got in my inbox said "describe summer where you live". Today's the first day of summer, and I thought perhaps I could look back and see what summer is like here.

2006, the power outage: We started to worry about looting—it was nearing the end of civil society (3 days). We passed out whistles and started to make a plan for the upcoming darkness. Sometimes, in an emergency situation when people come together to help, there’s this feeling of let down when it’s over. When your friend is released from the ER with the cast on his leg. When the firefighters leave the minor kitchen fire. When the sandbags are all full and the river starts to recede. Not that you want your friend to still be in pain, or your house to burn, or the neighborhood to flood, but there’s a camaraderie that ends when that sort of situation is allayed. I did not have that feeling when I heard from the neighbors that our electricity was back on.

2007, mah jongg. Nothing special about it, but it happens: We played over 10 games--I know I dealt at least twice. I didn't win a single hand. Ah well. I got to drink bourbon slush and play. 

2008: Girls on the block start growing up: I went up to check on them a few hours later, and they were cleaning the attic. CLEANING THE ATTIC. One of them, an older sister perennially in charge, was directing traffic. The other, a middle child, was bribing London with stickers to help them. Brooklyn was probably doing the least, although she was creating elaborate rules for the stickers, essentially turning them into Eagle Stamps ("once London collects 10, she can turn them in for a prize! Or save them for a bigger prize!").

2009: The AC fails and I wonder about myself:  Something about this sort of thing brings out my hoosier roots. Like, the AC failed because of something I did or didn't do and I spend a lot of time reminding myself that it isn't because I'm poor white trash, it's because my AC unit was really old (29 years old, actually). I never think this about other people when things like this happen. I just have a hard time convincing myself that these are things that just happen in life.

2010: Camping with neighbors goes well:  The rest of the trip was great. I spent most of the time saying "this is so much better than last year," and remember, it was 90+ degrees each day. It wasn't perfect. It was just really great.

2011: More camping with the neighbors: We all got very very wet and one morning went out for breakfast because the idea of fire was officially hopeless. Jack London kind of hopeless. And kids played and got along and had fun. Which is why I do this.

2012: It was hot:  You know it's hot when there's a day it only gets to 99 and it feels refreshing. We are going nowhere and doing nothing. I don't care that the kids are playing video games. I might play some later. We are grilling and using the crock pot. Turning on the oven sounds ridiculous. I bring clothes in off the line and they smell like hot. If hot had a smell all its own, it would be my clean laundry.

2013: It was complicated:  Home again, I talked with neighbors about how things are good, in general. In the morning I went to church and got fed at the table. Went to the bakery owned by Bixby's brother and his wife and got fed again, literally. Made plans. Came home and read the rest of the book I picked up a few days back to distract myself.

2014: Moving Colleen: We left my mom's house at 4:10. I kid you not. Drove BACK to Columbia in the beginnings of rush hour traffic. Got to U-Haul at 6:40. "You went far today!" the kid checking us in told me. "Yep. Big sister little sister miscommunication," I summed up. We went to her apartment, gathered up the bits and pieces like her CATS and their litter boxes and the plants and the weird lamps, stashed that stuff in my truck. And drove home to St. Louis again. As we packed up she said, "Can we take a rain check on the bike ride?" and all I could do was laugh. Because it's either a good time or a good story.

2015: Figuring it out: It's like...for the first time in years, since probably my diagnosis with Hashimoto's in 2006, life doesn't feel like it's drowning me. Life. Isn't. Drowning. Me. I'm starting to learn how to swim again.

2016: hmm. What will be important come August?

1 comment:

  1. "If hot had a smell all its own, it would be my clean laundry." An excellent looking back.