[dropcap]W[/dropcap]e never wore shoes during the summers,” said my mother-in-law, Mary. “Back then, if we did anything, it was roller skate or go fishing.”
Mary laughed. “It’s a wonder we ever slept we were so busy playing.”
Times have changed since the forties. To recreate small-town Alabamian summers the way Mary spent them, you’d have to shut down your iPhone, flip the computer off, open your windows, smash your alarm clock with a cinderblock, and remove your shoes.
While I don’t have anything against digital devices, it’s already May, and I’m ashamed to say I know more about presidential candidates than I do about speckled trout.
Mary went on, “Each season, I’d kick off my shoes, then go to the barn to check on my pet ducks. Oh, I loved them. I sold’em for two dollars a piece. They were good eating.”
I’d hate to hear what you did to your pet cats.
“In the barn, Daddy kept a big tin tub, about the length of a pickup truck, filled with little minnows, for fishing. My ducks were bad to steal his baitfish. Whenever Thursdays rolled around, he’d be slap-out of minnows.”
“Oh, that’s when Brewton shut down, like lots’a Alabama towns. In the afternoons, Daddy’d close shop, get a pint of whiskey, and go fishing.”
“Yep, every Thursday, such fun summers.”
Well, to be squarely honest, I don’t know what happened to fun. Or when the powers that be proclaimed it was no longer essential.
Furthermore, it’s hard to imagine a time when the world shut down on Thursdays, when hardworking folks considered afternoon-fishing important. For crying out loud, the mail runs on weekends now.
Still, there was a time when mailmen didn’t work Saturdays. When children played hard. When the worst thing a kid could say to another was, “I double-dog-dare you.”
Take me, for instance, I’ve been double-dog-dared more times than I can count. That’s how I got this scar on my right foot. I walked the roofline of my house, while four snot-noses watched below. I snagged my bare foot on a bent nail, and I’ve never seen so much blood.
That was ten million summers ago. Before the mail ran on Saturdays. Before I used words like,”fixed interest rate.” Before I kept such a close eye on the clock—or started wearing shoes.
Well. Today’s Thursday, and it’s already a marvelous summer.
I think I’ve just decided what I’ll do this afternoon.