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?

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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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Relatives and Mountains

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My selfie

by Neva Bodin

My brother-in-law has a license plate holder that says, “My Happy Place is in the Mountains.” And he spends time at his happy place with our family each summer, this year for the eighth year. At times we’ve had 16 family members present. This year there were only nine of us and three campers.

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This butterfly was quite small but posed for me amongst the colorful rocks.

Yellow, black and rust-colored butterflies escorted us at times. A heady, sweet fragrance reminiscent of honeysuckle permeated the air. A carpet of bright yellow and brilliant white, with swirls of various hues including purple, blue and pink spread out before us. We were over 9000 feet in altitude and rising. The purest blue sky cradled white cotton-ball clouds above us. We were on a four-wheeling trail ride on our annual family camping trip.

Our son-in-law who lives in Wyoming between the Rockies and the Bighorn Mountains is our trip planner. He has hunted and played in those mountains since he was young, a tradition he now carries on with his two children.

The peace and freedom felt on those mountain tops is unique. The lack of cell phone and internet services is freeing. The amount of cooking and eating we do is stupendous.

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On the trail.

Our four-wheeling trips that last 4-6 hours include a picnic lunch of sandwiches, fruit, chips, cookies and soft drinks, and now coffee with my son-in-law’s new butane coffee maker for campers! It is delicious.

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Relaxing by the campfire: (L to R) my dog-in-law, son-in-law, and husband.

Back at camp we have T-bone steak grilled over the campfire, with grilled potatoes that include lots of onion and butter, all wrapped in aluminum foil and tender and tasty, smoked ribs, baked beans, home-made caramel rolls, bars, cookies and salads. We also had smoked roast, S’mores and the usual brats, wieners and hamburgers. This year we had chicken pasta primavera one night. It is most definitely a “mountain top experience.”

We saw lots of pronghorn antelope and their babies, white tail deer does and fawns, a huge bull moose, mountain sheep and babies (through a spotting scope), and some in our party saw elk and bear. Rock Chucks, ground squirrels, called Picket Pins by locals, a Martin, squirrels, chipmunks, Jack Rabbits and a variety of birds popped into our sights. The Mountain bluebirds are like blue jewels with wings that contrast sharply with the landscape colors.

We visited Kirwin, WY, a now-ghost mining town where Amelia Earhart was having a cabin built when she disappeared on her famous airplane flight. We visited the Double D dude ranch where she stayed and had friends. All now silent and all but abandoned save for the Forest Service and sight-seers.

We heard the story of a very interesting “house of ill repute” that was apparently a “mountain top experience” also. And learned where the highest placed oil well in the United States was drilled. Watch for these stories in future blogs.

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Scene on one four-wheeling trip

And as we soaked up the scent of pine and fresh mountain air, as well as the ice-cold mountain shower that dumped on us during one four-wheeling trip, we wondered about the trappers, miners, and their women and children, who lived in log cabins, rode the stage coach trail near our campsite, and had the courage and fortitude to exist in this beautiful, bountiful, yet rugged land. It’s a place set apart from our high tech world in many ways.

I am always disappointed when an empty pop can, candy wrapper or beer bottle jars my effusive adoration of the mountains. How can someone be so callous as to mar this rugged landscape where nature still rules with a heavy hand?

Aside from that, we had another glorious time of admiring nature, staring into a campfire, and bonding with family. And eating, did I mention that we ate well?

I will segue into a couple more stories related to this trip in future blogs. Stay tuned.