Dog days

I guess they don't call them that for nothing.

So many hot days ahead of us. Even our terrible two can be found hiding out from the heat. This morning I came across them lazing in refuge. Belly up, feet dangling mid-air, splayed across the bed directly in front of the blowing fan. Though early, they already seemed sapped from the temperature.

On days like this I'm reminded of summers past. Those record breaking highs. Feeling the scorch of pavement, sandals missing, barefooted . Comically tip-toeing or hopping madly, depending on the intensity of said cement. Daring the kid next door to face a mother's wrath, and ruin the clean sidewalk with an egg snuck from the kitchen. An attempt and a distraction in homage of how truly hot it felt.

We'd parade our freckled pudgy bodies, blindly squealing, as we'd run through the backyard sprinkler. There was laughter instead of self-conscious loathing . Back then baby fat wasn't the issue it is today. Teasing and bullying aside, wearing halter tops and terry cloth mini-shorts wasn't a fashion faux pas, thick or thin.

We'd beg our moms to pull our hair back into slick ponytails, bringing relief to our necks sticky with perspiration. The odd wispy hair defiantly peeking from our tamed little manes. Spit on fake tatoos, mismatched hair ribbons, clothes in total disarray - we felt downright smashing. All that mattered was how high you could go on the swing, airborne. The sky was the limit.

The neighborhood group of kids fed themselves on Freezies and crazy flavored Happy Pop (a summer solace). The lot of us would poke our tart colored tongues out for sake of comparison. Each of us would then chuckle at the one kid who constantly sported a smudgy upper lip, the remaining evidence of his last frozen fix. Afterwards we'd prop ourselves in the tangle of long grass. Content.

My favorite time was away from home. Out of school, when we would spend our days at our grandma and grandpa's house. So many plans of mischief made in that garden. We spent so much time with our cousins. Stealing ourselves in the thicket of raspberry bushes, pinching mosquito bites.

I fondly recall the entire town's kids (a whopping population of 500, marked on the statue standing in the middle of the dirt road intersection). How we wailed in unison to the air raid siren, much like a pack of dogs. No longer used for intended purpose, it went off marking meal hours and church services. Warning lunch and supper, even curfew instead of some impending bomb.

I realize now what I didn't then. My grandparents had the patience of saints. The kitchen table was always a combat of sugar cereal, the floors muddied from our excursions in and out an ever-swinging screen door. They must have waken to our spurts of giggles middle of the night, as we forced one another's company down the dark passage of stairs in dire urgency towards the bathroom.

Poor Grandma. The trouble we must have been! Our messes and bickering, often underfoot. I can only imagine the frustration, finding the aftermath. Those days, when she found all the beds torn apart, void of clean sheets. When we excused our actions telling her we needed them for our fort, just like the topsy turvy chairs providing support to our makeshift tent! Poor Grandma indeed.

Dear Grand-dad. So funny how he'd refer to us little women as 'boy!' whenever we crossed his path. How sweet it was to see him take a shine to the birds we'd bring, intended our pets, better suited to his quiet nature.

I can't help but let out a little laugh remembering. Like the time 'Boots' (his cat companion) made it's way into the dishwasher he was fixing. Also how sweet it was when he looked forward to watching 'soaps' in the afternoon. 'Puss' the demur sister cat, an avid fan herself, at his side.

Most vivid in mind, an echo. I still miss the sound of the train moving down the tracks. How we stood still, hushed, an entire group of grand kids frozen for a moment, staring into the distance. Our ears piqued and flooded with the sound of it's whistle... It was only when the caboose was seen trailing off that we would resumed playing. Glowing children in the blazing summer sun.

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