Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Real Joy of Summer

I love summer.

I know, I know, who doesn't? The  lengthened daylight hours seem to attest to summer as a preference for even the Divine. Big trips and family reunions, sprinklers and half naked babies tinted brown, green growth and the intense first bite of tomato.

Oh, and lets not forget....

the weeding and watering, the packing and unpacking, the cleaning, the canning, the cutting the lawn.

Yep, summer is a lot of work too, but I still stand by my first statement. Although work, it can also be a lot of fun. I remember as a kid having all sorts of competitions as we worked. Memories of my sister and I beating our "city boy" cousins moving irrigation pipe is a favorite. Or sitting and talking in the shade of our big tree podding a mountain of peas until our fingers were permanently etched in green.

There were other times too. Pulling rye from our field and having my eyes get so itchy and sore I thought I'd go blind. (I guess I should remember that one next time my kids play their own version of that drama card) Or driving tractor alone hour after boring hour. That was not so fun, but I also remember my mom (who can still out work me, by the way) coming in from the garden, weeding done, just as I was pulling my sorry tail out of bed. And my dad coming in from hours longer than mine on the tractor, with only his eyes and teeth showing through the layer of dirt. Not doing what needed done was never an option.

Work is one of the most sincere forms of gratitude. Taking care of what you have been given speaks louder than a million thank yous. When I was in high school, my uncle passed away. I remember a lot of tender moments during the day of his funeral, but the one that I can never forget happened at the very end. After the burial service I was waiting in the car for my parents to finish up and come take me home. I was tired and probably hungry, and had been in a dress all day; summed up, I was being pretty selfish, and wanted to go. Just about then, two of my uncles walked by and one of them mentioned some shovels he had in the back of his truck. What? And then I saw one by one as more shovels appeared and I watched, humbly, as my aunts and uncles shoveled dirt onto the casket and completed this last task for their brother. yes, fun. Work is an essential part of all things good, including true and lasting happiness.

For more thoughts on the value of work: Wordfull Wednesday at Chocolateonmycranium

Here are some pictures from this year's family reunion; which of course included a work project.

A mountain of dead branches from a heavy spring storm, reduced to a pile of chips and fire wood.

No doubt my nephew worked hard...tough kid that one.

Just because they weren't allowed near the heavy machinery doesn't mean they didn't work hard too!

This one's for you, Grandma...and to all the flowers fallen in your absence :)


  1. "Work is one of the most sincere forms of gratitude." Wonderful point! I think I will hang that where we will all see it and be reminded of it.

    Love that last picture of the boys tramping the flowers!

  2. I love it! I can't believe how BLESSED we are! Crazy how we WORKED our tails off...and had SO much more because of it :) Great memories...some that I thought of the other day while podding peas with my kids.

  3. I love that idea of a work project during a reunion. We will have to figure that in next time. Of course, a lot of work occurred in the kitchen getting food prepared for everyone! But the idea of an actual project sounds like fun.

    Great post . . . :)

  4. you are so cool....I think I will keep you around for just a bit longer....I just love reading your blog....You should really think about writing professionally. I could just read your stuff all day.


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