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eating outside in summer

eating outside in summer
nesbitts strawberry soda
Summer afternoons long about suppertime was a time when life got busy: dads were coming home from work and moms cooked dinner inside a hot and stuffy house. All the windows were open, and sometimes the echoes of television drifted out through parted curtains.

Summertime was a grand time indeed with cold bottles of Strawberry, Grape, or Creme Sodas, and looking forward to dinner being served on the porch, or out in the yard. It was fun to sit on the wooden steps watching ants scurrying around and disappearing through cracks in the wood. I often watched bees bounce from one dandelion to another never giving a thought of the wonder of it all, but instead rested my eyes on the moment. With a cold glass of Kool-Aid my friends and I watched as the summer sun began to move its position in the sky, throwing more shadows across manicured lawns.

outdoor thermometerI always loved those summer days on the porch, and gathering with friends. If I was lucky there'd be hot dogs for dinner accompanied by chips and pork n' beans. Once that thermometer stripe touched on 90 or more degrees we all knew that the night would be as long as the day. Summer nights were full of promise: fun in the streets and games in the dark, then off to bed to sleep it off followed up with a fresh start in the morning. I loved everything about summer evenings. I loved sitting in a webbed lawn chair until a plaid pattern was embedded in my back. I loved talking with friends who shared the same dreams, expectations, and excitement of life that I did.

girl playing in sprinklerWe sprayed the hose, or chased each other with the lawn sprinkler until dads yelled at us to put it back. We listened to the top hits on the radio and used up rubber on our bike tires circling the same city blocks. Growing up those wonderful sixties was often beyond words, like a perfect painting of days gone by.

webbed lawn chair There was a certain bliss to dining in the backyard in the heat of summer. One day my Dad went to our local lumber store and bought a picnic table for our backyard.plaid drinking glass

Sadly it barely got used except for a few hot days when we ate outside. Mom insisted on covering it with one of those repulsive all-weather vinyl tablecloths rendered by some sort of floral print.

Usually I'd have a neighborhood friend or two over to join in. We didn't have a BBQ grille, so Mom cooked the hamburgers indoors then brought them out for us to make up our own burgers. She always fixed Pork N' Beans too; I remember that the potato chips got really soggy and disgusting whenever they were tainted with pork n' bean juice. My friends and I often retreated to the shade and discussed manly things like top fuel dragsters or the hottest songs on the charts. While the men drank beer, we drank cold soda and had great feasts of burgers or hot dogs, pork and beans and chips.