Since my husband and I moved away from where my parents lived, the season we spent the most time with them was summer.
Warmly welcoming each of us to the vast playground that was their country estate - The Hill - Mom and Dad hand cranked homemade ice cream, Dad barbecued tasty meats on his ancient barbecue, he cut juicy watermelons into drippy wedges - the rinds of which were gleefully thrown off the deck for cattle and deer - and Mom kept the pool crystal clear and clean, her bathing cap always close at hand.
Family gathered from far and wide to spend an invigorating and relaxing weekend together goofing off, enjoying scrumptious food, and telling stories.
The kids rode motorcycles, gathered chicken eggs from the henhouse, fed Dad's wild turkeys, played pool, shot guns, swam, played with cousins, and picked fat, deep purple blackberries.
I can still hear the unrestrained laughter, the croaking of frogs, and chirping of crickets. I smell roses and irises, taste potluck offerings delivered to the kitchen with cheer by each family, see bats swooping in the twilight sky.
I feel the thrill of sliding or diving or jumping into the huge pool, recollect the energy in my kids' little bodies as I teach them to swim and to see and to listen to life in the country.
The summer air smelled of crispy dry pasture grasses and hot evergreen trees, freshly watered verdant lawn, and sometimes the promise of a storm. Electrical storms, with their sticky humidity, frequent in the hot days of July and August, brought with them excitement in noise and flashes, contentment in the delicious warm rain which relaxed already smiling faces.
Underfoot crunchy pine needles offered up friendly seasonal scents, while hot sidewalks caused barefeet to quickly hop, skip, and jump onto damp lawn.
Summer on The Hill was a sensory feast! Memories linger, I hope as long as I live, comforting and encouraging me.
What a lovely thing to recall the goodness of time spent with my parents.
I ache for them, but more than that I am grateful that they were, indeed, mine.