Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Putting Away Summer

The windows were open and buckets of soapy water and rags were ready for the crew to pick up their weapon of choice. The dust of summer was about to disappear. Feather beds were hung on the clothesline along with pillows and comforters. The smell of the closet was replaced with the perfume of nature. We were putting away summer, getting ready for winter.

The smell of fall always reminds me of the farm. That scent so fresh that you'd swear it was newly made. Every window was opened so the house could air out. Mom washed curtains that had hung loosely in the humid summer months. Rugs were shaken, and floors were scrubbed. Fall came knocking on the door.

Mom loved sheer curtains. The silken panels hung at window blowing over us when the wind blew at night, bringing with it the sounds of the evening. In the living room, a renegade sheer was often tucked back out of the way, allowing a guest to sit by the window without wearing a silken shroud. When the sheers wore out, Brenda and I took them as our part of our dress up wardrobe. A sheer was a lovely bridal veil or stunning stole. When Mom passed, so to did the sheers. They passed on to her oldest granddaughter.

After the corn was picked, there was a lull in farm activity. Dad made sure there was plenty of wood for winter hot dog roasts over the fire in the fireplace. Mom had seen to a full pantry with summer produce canned or frozen. The meat locker in town was full of beef. The barn was full of tobacco curing until the winter task of stripping it began. Summer was going to sleep for another year. The crispness of fall was waiting.

Some of those old summer-putting-away habits are still in place. I discovered it yesterday as I took the broom to my son's porches and dusted away cobwebs of spiders' summer homes. I shook out the rugs and opened a window. Their sheer curtains waited for a breeze.

It is that time of the year. A time full of memory. A time of tucking in for the cooler months and storing summer past. Ah, putting away summer.

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