I lost it!
North Dakota winters are notoriously, often dangerously, cold. My father told me that during winter, he and his brothers would string rope between the house and the barn so that, during blizzards, they could safely make their way to and from the barn in order to care for the cows and horses that were an essential part of the family’s livelihood.
What is less known is that summer heat in the plains states can be as brutal as the region’s most extreme winter weather. Summer heat, and its effects, is the subject of my contribution for this month’s Storytelling Sunday.
It was the late 1950s. Our family was living in a rented house pending completion of our parents’ first purchased home. There were five of us at the time—Mom and Dad, my older brother, younger sister, and me. In those days you made friends with (and, more often than not, fought with) the next door and across-the-street neighbors because there weren’t any other options. We were a one-car family (Mom didn’t drive anyway), playgrounds were few and far away, and play dates and organized children’s activities were still decades in the future. So, we made do with what we had. Running through (heat-relieving) sprinklers, endless games of tag and hide-and-go-seek, and jump rope were our go-to activities.
The day I’m thinking of was late summer when I was five or six years old. The weather was hot, Hot, HOT, with little relief on offer except that we had been invited to a birthday party for a neighborhood child. It turned out to be a non-traditional celebration—instead of the usual cake and ice cream, refreshments consisted of Oreo cookies and watermelon. I don’t know why, but, well…I lost it…
I will leave the rest of this to your imagination except to say that, to this day, I don’t eat watermelon and the only way I will consider an Oreo is if I can scrape off the super-sweet frosting between the two chocolate layers.
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Posted for Sian’s Storytelling Sunday, a first-Sunday-of-the-month meme. This year’s optional theme is Pick Your Precious. Feel free to join in with your own story—about a souvenir, a family heirloom, a memory, or something completely different.