It’s hot. It’s humid. It sucks to be outside, unless you are over your neck in water, and that makes working horses a bit more than tough. This is life in the south in the summer and we are used to it, and grudge our way along from late April to somewhere along about October, whining and moaning, but dealing with it. My laundry bin by the end of a week reeks of damp clothes begging for a wash from the multiple changes I go through in the course of my daily chores. The horses stand in their run in stalls by day with fans cooling their faces and the dogs hide in dark corners of the air conditioned house, until the sun sets around eight pm and the air offers some relief.
When I was in seventh grade, my parents decided that they really wanted a place at the close by Lake Martin, a lake of beautiful water and landscape, with relatively little traffic, at that time. They wanted a cabin in this yet to be discovered paradise for a family get away. Search, they did, and they found the perfect place. In that late May, we packed up our clothes, and dogs, even my horse, "Pig", and the maid/cook/my cooking mentor/and best friend, Frances, and off we moved to stay at the lake for the entire summer. It was heaven. Finally there was a solution to living in the south in the summer. In retrospect we seemed to have lived there for centuries, but, in reality it was only three months a year for maybe ten years or so, but it was the birthplace for a life time of memories and much of the molding of my adolescence.
My brother Wilson taught me to ski on a slalom ski. One day I guess he had had enough watching me cruise around on two and said that it was time to move on. Eventually I figured it out with his patient guidance and loved it. There was a sheer joy of cutting a sharp turn across the wake of the boat ahead of you, jumping the wake it was leaving, and then turning sharply, at a distance dictated by the length of the tow rope, to once again jump the wake going the other direction, each turn trying to make it as sharp as possible laying your shoulder down almost touching the smooth water.
When there is something that you do everyday for hours on end, because there isn’t that much else to do, makes you get better fast. After skiing on one ski got boring, we starting improvising on anything else we might defy gravity and ride on top of the water with, including paddles, boards, and anything with a surface flat enough to stand on and slide through the water on. We took some spectacular falls on occasion, but heck, when you are young and haven’t been hurt you take risks, and continue to do so, until one bites you.
My brothers always had multiple friends of theirs up to visit for a week and I had my buddies as well so the house was nearly always full of voices and music playing through whatever eight track contraption was around. The music of the seventies was what I was going through my high school years hearing, and my older brothers and their friends introduced me to the bands that are still my favorites, The Allman Brothers, Pink Floyd, the Moody Blues, Creedance, and gosh knows how many more. It was a great time for the creative part of Rock and Roll, and I feel lucky to have been on the part and space in time where that music was new and unknown.
Summer would never be the same, but how wonderful it is to have those memories stuck somewhere still in my head. They remain the same.