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Archives for : July1954

Pink Lemonade

When I was little, I thought that God was in the sunshine. I realized that he was a busy guy who couldn’t watch me everyday, so some days were cloudy. I have always felt protected by sunshine, rated my days by the amount of usable daylight, and looked forward to days that included activities in the sunshine.

Heat is a different issue. I come from a line of perspiring women. Really, we sweat. We don’t smell bad, but we tend to show our body temperature by sprouting a thin bead of sweat at the top of our foreheads before anyone else. The start of summer is glorious, with warm days, the first appearance of sleeveless (my fav) shirts, and sandals. Dressing up with pretty hats and gloves takes a well-needed rest. As the summer continues and the days grow longer, the heat increases. My capris are comfy for housework, light gardening and watching the children play outside. When hot days start, I hole up inside with my special pink lemonade. The kids enjoy some with their meals and love the color.

It’s pretty hot today, so I’ve decided to let the kids turn on the hose and squirt each other for awhile. With any luck, they will accidently spray me too. A little later, I’ll add a little vodka to the lemonade and share some with Steve.

The Outdoor Carpet

Steve is heavily invested in the competitive lawn movement. The husbands of our neighborhood participate also. They spend an inordinate amount of time manicuring their lawns. Seriously, too much time. I don’t like to complain out loud because the grass is really green and pretty. Sometimes, we’re allowed to walk on it, but reluctantly. There have been rumors of men using scissors to clip special sections of their lawn to get the desired effect. Yes, scissors. This kind of behavior is hidden from view, a little crazy, but tolerated when you see the effect. Some husbands cut their lawns in strips that show the underside of the blades of grass. It’s like a ballet out there on Saturday morning with the men pushing their mowers back and forth.

Sometimes, a small group of men will hover over a plant to examine it, discuss ways to extract, or treat the specimen. The other wives and I giggle a little over these serious meetings, since these are the same men who never notice dust on furniture, floors that require sweeping, or the stacks of papers they keep on their desks. It’s a conundrum but part of our everyday summer world. The grass is not always greener next door. Steve does a great job of cutting and trimming the grass. He sits on the front stoop when he’s done and drinks a cold beer. Not his usual drink, just a man’s drink after cutting the grass.

Surprise Garden

My laziness is rewarded in weird ways. Last month, I was carrying the remains of a watermelon to the bird feeder. Some birds really enjoy the fruity rind and I have been a bird-lover from my youth. I enjoy their ability to fly away from any issue, handle winter weather without needing to buy new fashionable boots, and the necessary perseverance to overcome obstacles. Along my way to the feeder, I dropped the rind and it landed upside down. Some seeds stuck to the grass. I salvaged what I could for the feeder and the birds feasted.

A couple of days later, Daisy and I played with bubbles in the yard. I noticed a small plant popping up through Steve’s pristine bermuda grass. It was a watermelon plant! That night, Daisy was so thrilled that she excitedly told Steve about her new plant in the yard. Steve looked over at me and I quickly looked very interested in my potatoes. After dinner, Steve stepped out the front door and examined the intruding growth. He must have realized that there was no way to remove the plant without upsetting Daisy. He had a thoughtful look on his face when he came back inside but didn’t say anything. The lawn, as I have discussed before, is a touchy subject in our neighborhood. If you’ve ever grown a watermelon, you know how large the plants get. They have gigantic leaves that lovingly cover the fruit as it grows on long stems. The size of this mistake was going to be evident every day for the rest of the summer.

I realized that Steve was plotting something when he came back from the lumber yard with long pieces of pine sticking out of the back of the station wagon. He took the wood to his workshop in the garage. On Saturday, Steve broke out the sawhorses and a saw and cut pieces of wood. He built a tiny fence around the plant. He left a little space for growth but made it clear to the plant where it was permitted to grow. Daisy was so excited that Steve had built a garden for her plant. In the center of his beautiful lawn.

One night, I noticed Hal, Gil, and Steve standing on the lawn for about 30 minutes staring at the watermelon garden. They had serious “man faces” on and rubbed their chins repeatedly. The conversation looked tense but there was no way that I was going to interrupt that group. During the last couple of weeks, the leaves had started to get larger and there were small melons poking out beneath the leaves. As they walked away from the plant, both Gil and Hal patted Steve on the back and Steve had a very satisfied look on his face. It could even have been described as proud. Who would have believed that the green lawn brigade would accept the intrusion of a watermelon plant in the center of a beautiful manicured lawn?

Steve and Daisy visit the melon garden every night to check on its growth. I haven’t said a word about dropping those seeds on the lawn. Daisy’s miracle plant just sprouted as far as I’m concerned.