Summer Traditions and Treasures
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Summer is quickly (and I do mean quickly… !) coming to an end. Kids are heading back to school and parents are grateful for that! LOL Summer is a busy time though. The kids are out of school, parents take vacations and there are lots of household projects. When I drive around and see kids outside playing and having fun it makes me nostalgic for my own childhood as I remember all the fun that my brothers and I used to have.
As a kid, we lived in the country. Now, I wouldn’t necessarily classify it as “farm” country, but it is a suburb of the suburbs. It is definitely a farm community. There was a small farm across the street from our house, and our next door neighbor had an apple orchard right next to us. (And if we ran into the orchard to get a ball or something, or rode our bikes in there, they’d come out of their house and yell at us! LOL) It was quiet and the houses were somewhat far apart. To us, it was country. And it was fun!
Our property was about 1.5 acres and my brothers and I knew every inch of that ground! We had a huge front yard with a little slope to it… enough to ride your bike down and get going pretty good. LOL At the edge of our back yard we had a row of trees and a small, small creek running through it. Yep, we climbed those trees and played in that creek. On a hot summer day, sitting among the trees by the creek was pretty much the only cool spot we could find!
We had a few summer traditions that we really enjoyed. About a 1/4 of a mile from our house was a large lake that the owner manicured and maintained for swimming. It had a small beach with some shade trees along the edge. There was a large pavilion with a snack bar that sold ice cream treats, hot dogs, chips, and sodas. (THAT was a treat if we got to get snacks!)
Every summer my parents purchased a family membership for us to be able to get in and swim. I wouldn’t say we were there every day, but I’d say at least three times a week for sure. Mom would park herself under a shade tree with a book, and my brothers and I would hit the water! They had a kiddie pool area which consisted of a three-sided fence in the shallowest part of the lake. My older brothers braved the grown-up area in a deeper part of the lake where there was a huge slide and a couple of diving boards. That slide terrified me!
Once or twice a summer my dad would come with us. He was a school teacher but with four kids and a wife to feed, he supplemented his teaching income by working in construction during the warmer weather. So, when he had the chance, he would come swimming with us. Because my mom couldn’t swim at all, when dad came he would take us out into the deeeeep water, and it was such a blast!!
Our Local Treasure
Our community has a local treasure: our county fair. Now, this is not just your average county fair. This is the largest county fair in the state of Ohio, and the second largest fair in Ohio beaten only by the Ohio State Fair. The Mahoning County Fair, or “Canfield Fair”, as we know it, is 171 years old this year. Held over the long Labor Day weekend, it consists of 353 acres of animals, auctions, rides, food, displays, tractor pulls, and musical entertainment. We’ve had Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, The Beach Boys, Brad Paisley, Blake Shelton, and Miranda Lambert, to name a few. And, with an average 5-day attendance of 350,000 there is something for everyone! The food…. oh the food is divine! Fried dough, home-made french fries, lemon shakes, corn dogs…. oh yum!!
Unfortunately, the arrival of the fair means summer is over and it’s time to head back to school. I moved back to my childhood town last year, and I’ve driven past the home we grew up in. I remember running around that yard playing with my younger brother. Riding our bikes, playing kick ball. Then I passed that lake where we swam as kids. It’s grown over now and abandoned. But my memories are alive and well. I wish I could turn the clock back to those summer days but that’s not possible. Instead, I’m teaching my nephew all the fun things we did as kids. So, I guess in a way, I AM reliving my childhood!
Do you have any memorable summer traditions you can share? Any local treasures? Let me know in the comments!!
Before you go…. take a look at this post… where I realized I truly was an adult!
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