Whatever happened to our beautiful lazy summers?
I have to admit that I dread summer’s arrival in Texas where June is hot, July is hotter, and August is just hell. I do everything possible to get away to a much cooler place and begin counting the days until the arrival of the cool crispness of autumn.
As a child in the south, our home and most of my friend’s homes didn’t have central air conditioning. The days and nights of summers in South Carolina were often hot, humid and extremely uncomfortable. Rotating fans were placed in every room to keep the air moving. Wet clothes caused by sweating weren’t uncommon. Sitting on a screened in porch to keep out mosquitoes and feeling a strong breeze from a storm blowing in was one of the few times we were cool. We began to love storms at night because we knew one brought coolness for a while.The next morning we walked barefoot in the cool wet grass.
Every summer, our local church held an ice cream social. Everyone in the church brought an ice cream churn and we all took turns turning the crank, It seemed a long time before that ice cream was ready to eat.
When I was ten, my sister and I rotated visiting our Aunt Ruby and Uncle Jesse who lived in Society Hill, S.C. in an old plantation style house on a hill. Uncle Jesse ran a mercantile store on the main street of the small town. He passed away in 1973
Aunt Ruby, a former school teacher, was a blonde with blue eyes. She stayed up late, smoking camel cigarettes, writing poetry , and reading. She slept in every morning then she made a pot of tea and scones. I’m sure this is where I developed my love of cream scones and hot tea. Today I still make them for my family.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Mix 2 c. flour,1 T. baking powder, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/4 c. sugar, 3/4 c. dried blue berries. Stir in 1,1/4 c cream. Stir until dough just mixed. Will be sticky. Place on a floured board and shape into a circle. Cut into 8 pie shaped wedges or use a biscuit cutter. Place on baking sheet. Melt 3 T butter and mix with 2T sugar. Paint on top of each scone. Bake 12-15 minutes until golden brown. Serve with lemon curd, clotted cream, and jam of choice. It’s important not to handle dough very much or it will make the scone tough and heavy.
Uncle Jesse was a tall quiet man with an angular frame who seemed underweight to me even though I was seeing him through the eyes of a child. He always wore a suit and tie. At the time, I was ten and even then I found their relationship a bit odd since they never went to bed at the same time.
During my teen years, Aunt Ruby introduced me to a son of a friend of hers. He was already in college and I was still in high school. We went on a date and discovered we really had nothing in common. By that time spending time in Myrtle Beach with my best friend and her family was more fun with the shag contests and rock and roll bands at the beach. Walking up and down the beach and riding in bumper to bumper traffic was our idea of fun at the time.
I don’t know what happened to my love of summer. These days I vacation at East Coast Beaches and mountains in the spring and early fall. The beaches are quieter and less crowded and the mountains with their colorful trees are just beautiful.
What are your memories of summer?