Southern Summers

When I was a just a little boy growing up in North Georgia, the sun did not shine. Instead it bore down into our skulls, heating our brains to unhealthy temperatures, which in retrospect may explain a lot of things. Sweat turned the dirt on our faces to mud and our clothes clung like loose skin to our bodies. We didn’t know any different, had never experienced anything different so we played on. Shade trees did not provide a refuge like they do out west where the heat is dry. Sweat did not drip, it drained down our shirtless torsos and collected like a sponge in our underwear where it turned Fruit of the Looms into sandpaper that chaffed our thighs with each stride, yet we played on with no hope for refuge. On those summer days, days when a front yard baseball game was more important than the World Series, since the Braves were already out of it, we walked to my momma’s little store and she gave us each a Push-up. That orange sherbet was manna for the soul – a gift from the very God that put that ole sun in the sky to cook our skin and turn our sweat to salt. It made me happy, as happy as a boy could or should be. Satisfied we wiped our faces with the backs of our hands and returned to the game. That memory, and countless more like it make me smile.