How I Coped with Summer

I’m Abbie Johnson Taylor, and I wrote this post.

 

 

Now that fall has come, I reflect back to “those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer,” and as the song says, I wish we could just stay in that season. Like most, this past summer went by way too fast. It wasn’t as long or hot as other summers. Of course, like everyone else, I complained about the heat, but I had my ways of dealing with it.

The window air conditioning unit in the spare room was my best friend. With the help of ceiling fans scattered throughout the house, it kept things pretty cool. I drank plenty of water, as I always do. With a few pieces of ice, it also kept me cool. Then of course, there was my old pal, Dr. Pepper. It was just what the doctor ordered, although it took away some of the water I drank, but that was okay because I could always drink more water.

On summer evenings when the weather cooled, I sat in my back yard and did email or read a book, slapping mosquitos when necessary and eventually moving indoors to avoid being bitten. I sometimes went with friends to concerts in the park, where we bought ice cream at a nearby stand.

In the early mornings before it got hot, I took long walks by the creek, feeling the cool breeze caress my bare legs and arms. It was a great way to start a hot summer day.

When I was growing up, my family often took trips to the mountains to cool off during the summer, but now, my family is either dead or scattered across the country, and I don’t have many opportunities to visit the highlands, especially since I don’t drive.

In my younger adult years, I attended a camp for the visually impaired on Casper Mountain, approximately 200 miles south, then west of Sheridan, Wyoming, where I now live. Here, I made friends and learned computer and other skills and had plenty of opportunities to walk in the woods and enjoy nature. Although the camp is still there today, there’s no adult program anymore due to an unwillingness by the state and other entities to pay for it.

Now, summer is gone, and fall is upon us. I already miss those days of relaxing in my back yard with a Dr. Pepper and a good book, the sounds of band music floating through the air at the park, the salted caramel ice cream I enjoyed during such a concert. Oh well, there’s always next year, isn’t there?

How did you cope with summer heat? Are you glad fall is here? Why or why not?

***

I’m the author of a romance novel, two poetry collections, and a memoir. My work has appeared in The Avocet and Magnets and Ladders. I have a visual impairment and live in Sheridan, Wyoming, where for six years, I cared for my late husband, who was totally blind and partially paralyzed by two strokes. Before that, I worked as a registered music therapist in a nursing home and other facilities that served senior citizens. For more information, please visit my website and blog.

***

Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

We Shall Overcome

How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

Click to hear an audio trailer.

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Ice Cream Cone: A Double Dip for a Nickel

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Posted by Kathy Waller

 

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My letter for the April A to Z Challenge is I. What else could it be but ice cream?

*****

I wrote the following poem to the memory of W. F. “Dick” Ward, who operated an ice cream parlor on the Main Street of Fentress, Texas, and who for nearly seventy years sold great big double-dipped ice cream cones to children of all ages. For all those years, the price remained the same: one nickel. The ice cream didn’t get better, said Dick, so why should the price go up?

We loved him.

 *

W. F. Ward, Confectioner, 1958

 

Vanilla ice cream cone I bought at Camp Manito...
Vanilla ice cream cone I bought at Camp Manitou-Lin for a $1 donation. I was sort of icey. (Photo credit: Wikipedia). By Steven Depolo is licensed under CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Out on the porch it’s August,

But it’s cool inside and dim, one bulb suspending from a cord.

A slim brunette holding a bottle of Royal Crown Cola

Smiles down from above the mirror.

In the back, where it’s dark and you’ve never been,

Sit two small, dusty tables and four delicate chairs.

Once, flappers and their beaus

Sipped sodas and flirted there

But now they’re ghosts.

Behind the marble counter stands Dick Ward,

Eighty years old to your seven, and deaf, and wiry as the chairs,

Blue eyes dancing.

Chocolate, please,” you say.

He leans down, tilts his head.

What?”

You stand on tiptoe, breathe deep, shout.

Chocolate!”

Of course, it’s just a game, because

He knew before you asked.

He dives down, disappears into the marble, rises with a cone,

Huge, double-dipped,

And holds it out.

You hand him your nickel.

Thank you.”

As you turn to leave, Mr. Perry shuffles in.

Bugler!” he rasps,

And as Dick reaches for the tobacco

You know that’s wrong,

Because your grandfather smokes Bull Durham,

And anyway,

How could anyone pass up chocolate?

~~~~~~~~~~

“W. F. Ward, Confectioner, 1958″ first appeared in the 2008 issue of True Words Anthology, a publication of Story Circle Network.

~~~~~~~~~~

Kathy blogs at To Write Is to Write Is to Write and at Austin Mystery Writers. Two of her short stories will appear in Austin Mystery Writers’ anthology MURDER ON WHEELS, coming soon from Wildside Press.