Kids Will Never Forget The Joy Of A Southern Summer

Kids Running Through Sprinkler In Summer

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Childhood summers in the South are the sweetest days out there. They’re nostalgic even if you’re living through them for the first time. They’re ripe with laughter and good food, long days filled with heat, mosquitos, and sun so hot it can fry an egg (and you know you’ve cooked one on the sidewalk just to prove it). It doesn’t take much to make summertime memories. Unlike other seasons, most of it centers on being outside and left to our own devices from dawn until dusk. It’s a kind of joy that requires no material things aside from what’s all around us. Even a summer squall has a kind of magic that soon turns into memories of muddy puddle jumping and seeing how many of those giant rain drops we can catch on our tongues. Inevitably there’s a parent not far off wishing she had thought to pack an extra set of outfits for her now drenched-through crew, but you? You couldn’t have been more pleased—soaked clothes and all. These are the summertime memories kids will never forget.

Front Yard Sprinklers

There was no need for a pool during our childhood summers. Sure, having a friend with one or a membership to the neighborhood swim club was ideal, though we found plenty of ways to put our suits to good use. Out of the plethora of water-related activities, front yard sprinklers might have been the favorite. There were races to be had and, boy, did we race until our legs nearly gave out. The best day for yard sprinklers was always right after a mow. We’d be covered in grass blades from head to toe, itching a million miles an hour. Much to our glee, it always required a hosing off before calling it quits for the day.

Popsicles on the Porch

If rainy days ever led to popsicles on the porch, we hope you’ve wised up enough by now to realize it was less about a fun activity for you and your five cousins and more about your parents needing a break. And you know those popsicles melted far too quick for her liking, even with the overcast skies and the lower-than-average temperatures they brought along with them. In fact, there were a great many summertime delicacies that were often relegated to the porch like big wedges of watermelon, peach milkshakes, and hot dogs with too much ketchup. 

Sandy Sandwiches

Whether you lived near the beach, vacationed there every summer, or visited once and happened to eat a sandwich on the shore, you know that sand in inevitable. Grainy, crunchy, all-out rage-inducing for some of us (me), it has never been called a great addition to the perfection that is a picnic sandwich. Especially after hours of frolicking in the ocean or building award-winning (if you will) sandcastles, the appeal of a sandwich pulled straight from the cooler can’t be denied. But when, on first bite, you’re met with that gritty feeling between your molars, all bets are off. You’ll force it down, to be sure, but enjoy it? Probably not. Just consider it fuel for the rest of the afternoon—or until Mama lets you bust open that new bag of chips. But don’t expect her to let you dip your sandy, wet fingers in with all those golden ridges! Hells bells! Find an empty cup and she’ll pour some in. 

Summer Perfume

To this day, if you don’t get a whiff of sunscreen mixed with bug spray and immediately find yourself rewinding 20, 30, 40 or more years to summers at the community pool or lake or camping trips with your family, then perhaps you’ll let us share some of our nostalgia with you. We know that scent is one of the most powerful pathways to cherished memories, but few hit quite like sunscreen mixed with notes of mosquito repellant—except perhaps the smell of Sunday dinners at Mimi’s house. Whether that mosquito repellent actually worked in the first place was anyone’s guess, but we slathered it on anyway. 

Fire Alarm Dinners

Speaking of mosquitos, we didn’t let that deter us from many an alfresco dinner, although we certainly did it a lot differently back then. There were no candles (it was bright until nearly 9 p.m. after all), no buffalo check dry-clean-only tablecloths, or even tasteful melamine serving pieces. It was paper plates on the sidewalk or on a beach towel spread on the front lawn. And there was absolutely no lingering until all the food was gone. They were fire alarm dinners that we ate as fast as we could—we’d be darned if we let the flies get to the good stuff first. Once there wasn’t a speck of food left, then it was time to lay in the yard, with arms crossed behind our heads as we waited for the big show… lightning bugs

Stuff We Never Noticed

These days, many of us grown-ups have a lot to complain about when it comes to this splendid, albeit sometimes harsh, season. The heat, the humidity, the rain, the bugs—but you know who isn’t fazed by any of this? Kids. They’re too busy enjoying every minute of it, just like we used to be. There were backyard forts to protect, swings to fly to the moon on, and enough dandelions to make crown jewels for the entire court, or cul-de-sac. Who can bother with finding things to complain about when there’s so much good all around? If you ask us, these are memories worth reinventing—just maybe this time with a fan nearby and a frosty cocktail in hand. 

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