Gardens and Farmer’s Markets
My husband, John, and I have greatly enjoyed the last seven summers – our retirement years – for different reasons.
John enjoys getting outside and planting a garden as soon as possible. He works long hours getting the soil ready, but when summer arrives, we know it was all worth it.
One year, our strawberries were especially large, and the birds kept helping themselves, so we purchased green netting and put it around the strawberry patch. The result was the biggest strawberries we’d ever seen. They were luscious and juicy – and huge!
Through the years, John has planted tomatoes, potatoes, cucumbers, squash, onion and more. During good years, he saves some of his vegetables and enters them at the Kansas State Fair, and we usually come home with a lot of ribbons.
There is no way we can eat all the vegetables John grows, so we take some to the local Farmer’s Market. This is the part I enjoy during the summer months. The market is full of interesting people. We’ve met many people from different states and even countries, including a college professor from Russia. We’ve also met people we knew when we were children.
Our local Farmer’s Market has grown, and we often feature live musical entertainment. The folks who play at the market sing lots of old, familiar songs, and it gives the market-goers a sense of the simple charm of the olden days.
On many occasions, a local chef will demonstrate how to cook a meal with some of the fresh vegetables for sale at the market. The people crowd around to taste the healthy delicacy and are often surprised at the wonderful flavor of such healthy foods.
This experience has been especially heartwarming during the past couple of years, when the national recession has set in. It’s certainly a renewing of going back to a simpler life, when happiness didn’t depend on achieving all our material wants and desires. As we all congregate in the simple bustle of the Farmer’s Market, we realize where our true happiness really comes from.
Doris – Hutchinson, Kansas
Amusement Park Made Summers Fun
My family and I have many fond memories of the summers we spent in Asbury Park, New Jersey, at the amusement park.
I can almost hear the clickety-clack of the roller coaster as it made its way up the tracks, then down the steep incline, as the high-pitched voices of the riders screamed while waving their hands high in the air. The bumper cars were a family favorite, providing lots of fun as we slammed into each other.
Who could ever forget the charm of the carousel, the bright lights flashing, the horses bobbing up and down? My daughter, Cindy, could hardly wait to hop onto her favorite mint green-colored horse. The sound of the old-fashioned pipe organ still rings in my ears today.
A dark ride through the “Tunnel of Love” or “The Fun House” are memories still so vivid in my mind. A Ferris wheel that stood 74 feet tall was one of the first in the country and had an observation platform where we could observe the beauty of Asbury Park from the top.
I can remember the sweet, gooey taste of saltwater taffy and creamy fudge. Cotton candy in assorted flavors dissolved instantly in my mouth like magic. The smoky aroma of pork rolls frying on the grill called to us, and foot-long hot dogs with the works were a family favorite.
Asbury Park’s beach was always crowded with vacationers and townspeople who flocked to the pristine beach each year. On one of our visits to the beach, we saw actor Telly Savallas and his family. He was kind enough to give us his autograph, and it was a moment my daughter never forgot.
Each summer, our family was drawn back to Asbury Park, to the quiet lap of the ocean waves and the distant sounds of amusement rides echoing in our ears.
Janet – Folcroft, Pennsylvania
Family Enjoys Summer Gatherings
Summer brings special holidays and lots of family fun.
To celebrate Memorial Day, we go to the cemetery early in the morning and place flowers on the graves of our loved ones. Then we all gather for a picnic, complete with hamburgers, hot dogs, potato salad, melons and desserts. We pack up the food and head to the timber for a picnic. When we had our dog, he always knew when we were heading to our special spot, and he would run ahead of the pickup to get their first, knowing there would be a snack or two for him.
We gather again for Independence Day, and if the weather is still mild when Labor Day rolls around, we celebrate yet again.
Summer is also when our extended family gets together for a family reunion. It’s a special day for sharing laughter and tears while reliving the good times and remembering family members who are no longer with us. Yes, summer is a wonderful time of year.
Phyllis – Correctionville, Iowa
Couple Enjoys Traveling the World Without Leaving California
Living in San Diego provides my husband and me an opportunity to enjoy very special outings in summer. In beautiful Balboa Park, in an area called “The House of Pacific Relations,” several small two-room cottages have been constructed, forming an elliptical circle around a large, grassy area. At one end of the circle is a small concrete stage set up for performances.
Each cottage is leased to an organization representing a particular country, and the organization’s members fill the cottages with furniture and decorations representative of that country. Pictures, maps and historical information are also displayed for the visitors, and ethnic refreshments are offered for donations. The members of each organization meet and greet the visitors and answer any questions anyone might have about the country they are representing.
The place is open in winter, too, but we enjoy visiting in the summer, because each Sunday, one of the cottages is showcased and presents a one-hour program in which the organization members dress in traditional costume and entertain with music and dance appropriate to the country they are representing. Visitors bring lawn chairs or sit on the grass to watch the performances. We have learned a lot about the cultures of Ireland, Denmark, Poland, China, Israel, the Philippines and France, to name a few.
I am particularly fond of the coffee and almond pastry served at The Cottage of Sweden, while my husband prefers the homemade delicacies served at The Cottage of Israel. It’s fun to meet and talk with out-of-state visitors who are amazed at this unusual feature of the Balboa Park, and I’m very proud to say that at the beginning of each program, everyone stands and says the Pledge of Allegiance, sings the Star-Spangled Banner, then respectfully listens to the National Anthem of whichever country is being highlighted that day.
Fay – San Diego
Blessings of Summer
Summer brings relief and liberation. We can finally tuck away our winter clothes, boots and heavy bedding, and take out our lightweight, cotton shirts and shorts. Life just seems easier when the weather is warmer.
I love to step outside and see the beautiful pastel colors of my blooming flowers, especially my Siberian iris, daisies and roses. I don’t even mind mowing the grass, if it’s not too hot, and a glass of iced tea or lemonade hits the spot after that job.
The weather can turn unstable quickly during the summer months, and while I don’t like severe weather, I do find it soothing to see a lightning show in the sky, followed by a gentle rain that provides a soft and comforting melody.
Everyone seems healthier in summer. I think it’s being able to get outside and bask in the fresh air and bright sunshine. Fresh fruits and vegetables from the garden also do a body good. It doesn’t even seem like work to be out in the garden. Every year, after a long, dreary winter, when the trees and landscape finally turn from gray to green, it invigorates me to get out to the garden every chance I get, to see how my vegetables are progressing.
I never fret about outside work in the summer. I enjoy working in the garden, and I love hanging my clothes out on the clothesline. To me, there is no better scent in the world. I think summer is a special blessing from God – a reward after enduring a seemingly endless winter.