Henry James once said that the two best words in the English language are “Summer Afternoon.”
Henry James had never summered in Texas, I’d bet.
But on summer evenings, when the humidity is low and the breeze cools you just enough, when the there’s watermelon and soda pop in plastic cups and 40 or so of your kinfolk gathered to watch a small pickup truck’s worth of fireworks go off in the field in front of the big shed, I can kind of see Henry’s point.
Some of my best childhood memories are from the carefree summer days I spent in Poteau, Oklahoma on various trips growing up. Acres to explore, lots of cousins to play with, all sorts of trouble to get into. And to this flatlands city boy, the rocks and ravines and hills and creeks (pronounced “cricks”) were a whole new world of wonder.
But the key was always leaving right about the day or so I started getting really bored. I am a city boy after all.
And that’s still the formula. This time I got the pleasure of watching the same childhood delights and wonder unfold for my children as they rode the tractor, fed chickens, picked corn for dinner, and wrestled with their cohort of cousins. I could see forming in them the same kinds of wonderful memories I treasure even now. So when we pulled away from Poteau, Fresh and Petunia were asking to come back. Leave ’em wanting more, I say. Don’t out-stay the wonder.
We’re city folk after all. But there’s a little piece of country in our hearts we feed once or twice a year.