This was the fifth idea we had for this window. But it stuck with us (and instantly felt right when we came up with it), because it is near and dear to us. Summertime in North Carolina is a wonderful thing. Yes, it's hot. But we're generously rewarded with nature's bounty -- Candor peaches, tomato sandwiches, and watermelon slices with lots of salt.
Not to mention the homemade ice cream. And cold Cheerwines.
I was fortunate enough to grow up with a grandfather who was a North Carolina tobacco farmer. I don't remember the tobacco -- that was before my time. But I do remember the hot summer mornings spent on the farm in Biscoe, gathering what vegetables we could from his array of crops, and then selling them to locals in the shady front yard in the afternoon.
Now, I don't know how much work I actually did. I'd like to think it was more than it probably was. But I'm pretty sure I played at working.
There are four things that stick out in my memory the most from those summers --
1. The mid-morning snack. My granny and I would leave the field and drive to Nash's Store in Candor to pick up various goodies for everyone. I remember the RC colas and the Moon Pies, but I was strictly a Nabs kind of girl. With a Pepsi or a Cheerwine, of course.
2. The farm itself. Never was there a better wonderland for children to amuse themselves. We were reckless and fearless, and children today would not be allowed to do what we did. Climbing to the top of the silo and jumping into the corn. Running from side to side on the big tobacco carts to make them see-saw. Riding (and crashing) the three-wheeler. Fishing in the ponds. Making fairy houses in tree roots with rocks and leaves. Tramping through the woods looking for adventure.
3. Lunch. No food on this planet tastes as good as home-cooked country food made by your granny after you've worn yourself out (whether you've done it through actually picking veggies or by playing). Her biscuits were legendary. But if you add a fresh tomato slice, cut from one picked that morning? Heaven. Then you can always finish with one of my favorite things -- peanut butter and Karo syrup stirred together. My mama eats it with biscuits, but I can eat it with a spoon. Holy crap, that's good!
4. Family. I have a large family, with lots of cousins. And we've always been close. I remember seeing them almost every day during the summer. Joking and laughing, playing and fighting. Eating and working. My best friends were my cousins. I was the youngest at this time (not for very long, though), and they were my role models and my protectors. Yeah, and my enemies at times. But whether we were getting into trouble or playing Boogeyman or Hide and Seek -- we knew we had each other. We all knew that we were loved and supported and safe. We were allowed to explore with no boundaries. And I'd like to think that because of that, we were each able to find ourselves. That those experiences from our childhood spent together, have shaped who we are today. That the principles we learned through that love and work and play, still influence the decisions we make in our lives now.
So I'd like to dedicate this window to my Papa Cecil and Granny Frances. For teaching me the value of hard work and love.