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There are some surprises in summer weather

KATHRYN YARBRO
Guest columnist

I remember rainy days, but no heavy downpours like we have had recently. I recall showers and afternoon thunderstorms that made mud puddles and kept the small stream running below our house.
But if it rained then like it has this season, I have forgotten it. Somewhere I read that we had heavy rain like this 40 years ago. Well, for someone who has a problem remembering names from last week, I’m glad the long-ago bad weather memories are long gone.
The weather, like many other things in life, has some surprises and we must treat it with respect.
This flooding has brought serious trouble for many and those who foolishly added problems for others should be punished accordingly.
But there’s some hot weather between these rainy days and we know that summer has officially arrived.
If we aren’t complaining about the rain, we hear complaints about the heat.
I heard shoppers going in and out of the grocery store muttering about how hot it was. They hurry inside to fill their carts and rush back outdoors for a cool ride home.
This week, a shopper going in the store beside me, asked “what did we do before air conditioning?”
Well, I reminded him that most of us were used to summer weather.
And we were. I remember that the windows were up all the time except when a storm was brewing. My mother was afraid of thunder, so the windows came down and we had to be quiet until the weather cleared.
Most days were spent outdoors. Summer meant canning time for women and gardens were planted with that in mind. Green beans, tomatoes, cucumbers and any other vegetable that would pickle were put in glass jars or cans to save for those cold winter days.
Vegetables were usually gathered early morning before the mid-day heat. The food was washed and prepared for storing under the old oak tree in the backyard.
That’s where the family laundry was done so the benches holding washtubs and the wash pot could be used for canning and other chores. Washing and breaking beans took longer to ready for canning than other foods. Some of the work we had to help with and some jobs our help wasn’t needed.
I can’t remember always being in a hurry, but maybe that’s because I was younger then. But when the work was done we always had time for some leisure such as reading or playing games with other neighborhood friends.
Youth never feels tired or it seems like I didn’t until many years later. I know my older sisters had to help with the hard work. Being the youngest was an advantage as I was often moved out of the way.
Work slowed during rainy days. And we liked it.
Sometimes summer chores slowed until the sun peeked through the clouds, then it was back to work again.

Kathryn Yarbro is former managing editor of the Lincoln Times-News.

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