Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Yellow Lemonade, Watermelon and Malts on the Porch Swing

There are one or two things about summer that if we went without, we simply wouldn't have summer.

If you live on a ranch, you understand that there are some things that the summer always brings. Haying season is the first one and that's not so bad. The first few days are even fun. Sitting on a swather (the machine used to cut the crop) was where I first learned to drive. That John Deere of my parent's didn't have a steering wheel though it only had two levers next to each other. One for each hand and if you'd like to turn right you pull the left one back and push the right one forward and that piece of equipment would whip around faster than a NASCAR racer at the Indy 500. The downside to haying season is that the equipment never runs like it should. To bet that you'll have at least one breakdown a day is equal to a bet that frogs have waterproof skin, it's a given. By the end of the couple of months you've spent haying, the memories won't all be happy ones in fact very few will be happy. Nevertheless, by the time you're stuck in a deep snow bank in January, you'll be looking forward to haying season once again.

And when the haying is all through, you can bet there'll be plenty of fence to fix. Riding all of the fences on your place is a must do. It is really a tragedy when you get a call from the neighbors letting you know your plain bull got in with their prized seed stock cows all because of a hole that hadn't been repaired. Trust me, pie and cookies are good ways to meet your neighbors, loose bulls or bucks are bad ways and it's best not to confuse the two.

There are a few things about summer that are the absolute frosting on the cake. Surprisingly, it's not frosting on cake but yellow lemonade, watermelon and malts on the porch swing. Some people have an affinity for pink lemonade and that's just fine. The issue to me is that my mom has always made yellow lemonade and I've always been confused as to where people are finding all of the pink lemons they do. I've only seen yellow ones. Watermelon is such a palatable food. It can be sliced like a smile, lumped like candy or mixed with other fruits. Either way it's refreshing and can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, dinner and for dessert. I'm not sure why people bother buying other food during the summer. And then there's malts on the porch swing. When we were just little kids there were a few things we could always be sure of. We had to take baths every Saturday night (And only Saturday night because we had a shallow well and livestock to water, it got stinky now and again. I think that's why we were home-schooled but we'll talk about that another time.), go to Church on Sundays, town on Wednesdays and most every night of the week our mama would make us malts. I think they were sometimes shakes but we didn't have McDonald's to decipher between the two for us so we just called them malts. We had tin cups, each of a different metallic color and when Mama poured the mixture into the cup, it would get frosty on the outside from the drink on the inside. We'd all sit around the table together to drink our malts. But as we got older, my sister and I would sit out on the porch swing. Much of the time there we'd sing our newest and most favorite songs and we'd tell jokes. Usually ones as funny as a bug on a rug but we liked them.

I'm not sure if it will change but for now, the smell of hay, the sound of a post pounder and that sweet goodness of yellow lemonade, watermelon and malts on the porch swing, will forever take me right back to my childhood. A flashback in time that's given me more great memories then I ever could have asked for. And that, my friends, is why I share with you. Maybe you can enjoy them and relate a little bit too. Another great memory from life in the country.

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