Memories of summers growing up in southeast Missouri stick in my brain like newly mowed grass to my bare feet after a heavy dew. I can still feel the scratchiness of that straw broom my mom used to clean my feet and legs before coming into the house.
We hardly ever wore shoes back then. I'm pretty much still a barefoot gal, but age and tender feet stop me nowadays from tromping around outside without proper footwear.
Anytime I catch a whiff of bug repellant and punt sticks it harkens me back to childhood summers.
Independence Day celebrations at our house nearly always consisted of plenty of bug spray, a Coke bottle with bottle rockets being set off in the driveway. Oh and the sparklers! I still love those!
Afterward we'd come in and eat bologna salad sandwiches (Mom's specialty), watch whatever Dad wanted to watch on TV, then hop in the tub to end the night.
Once in awhile Mom would roast marshmallows over the flame of our kitchen range top for a treat. Ingenious right? The wild mosquito population of our yard prevented us from having outdoor summer bonfires much, so Mom improvised.
I don't honestly remember ever having S'mores, just the toasted marshmallows. I prefer the blackened outside best of all. Yum!
Summers always brought endless days spent with my grandmother teaching me all kinds of things.
I learned the finesse of tying thread to June bugs' legs and flying them like a kite from her steps. (Before you scream animal abuse, please note that no May beetles were harmed in the process. Gran was a fellow animal lover and was a charmer of all living creatures) She made perfume out of rose petals to dab on my wrists and the art of her grass blade whistles still eludes me. I never could make mine sound as crisp as hers.
She was a marvel. I spent many a day stepping every step she made picking produce out of the garden or watching her starch a shirt. I stood watch over her from a chair in her kitchen eyeing every kernel of corn she canned and how she swiftly and efficiently wielded her knife cuts.
Gran was also the most graceful and skilled side swimmer I ever knew. She was instrumental in teaching me how to float in the water and not be so scared. You see, my mother was terrified of water so it was up to Gran to teach us to swim. She did just that and so much more.
I'm ever thankful for those sweet summertime memories made in childhood and grateful to be able to share them with you in this blog. Now go out and make some of your own sweet summer memories with your loved ones. Happy summer!
Mom's bologna salad recipe follows. Enjoy!
Joyce Hornbeck's Bologna Salad aka Baby Shower Salad
(my sister, Janice, will say Mom never put onions, carrots or celery in it but when I helped Mom make it during my childhood, she did)
1 lb. "good" bologna (Mom always liked Krey brand)
3-4 good size sweet pickles plus juice
3 boiled eggs
1/2 sm. onion
1/4 sm. block of American cheese
2 large carrots
2 stalks celery
Mom always used a hand grinder clamped to the kitchen table to make hers but a food processor will work great. Roughly chop all the ingredients together till the consistency of ham salad. Add the pickle juice, Miracle Whip and salt/pepper to taste last to bind the salad together. Mom always liked hers on toast and sometimes with crackers. You eat it the way you like it. Store in the refrigerator in a covered container for about three days.