Just the other day I was thinking about the sounds of summer when we lived here with eight children in the house.
As I remember it, some were exclusively summer sounds, and others were year-round sounds that were magnified by summer.
Exclusively speaking were the shrieks and splashes that came in all of our opened windows from the wading pool. These were usually followed by the splish splash of wet feet heading toward our refrigerator for refreshments.
Then there would be the soggy sploosh as a kid in a wet swimsuit sagged onto the couch. That was followed by this mother’s shrieks to remove the wet body from the previously dry couch.
Another summer exclusive was talk about the humidity.
We were riding in the car one day when a voice from the back seat complained that the window was all sticky. “Of course, dummy, it’s the humidity,” was the superior reply from another backseat rider. But that was immediately trumped by another backseat companion who said, “Is not! Its popsicle juice somebody melted on it this afternoon.” No further comment was necessary.
Then there was the time we pulled up at a red light. There was a couple in the car beside us, and they were sitting very close. This was before front seat center consoles and seatbelts. A very loud voice proclaimed from our backseat, “Hoo-boy look at how close those two in that car are sitting!”
That was a sound of summer magnified by the fact that all of the car windows were down and several of the neighbor kids were in the backseat with our kids because I didn’t want to leave them alone while I ran a necessary errand.
While I prayed the light would change to green quickly, the chorus from the backseat got louder as they babbled their agreement with the speaker and the thermometer effect took over with the close couple. The thermometer effect occurs when a blush begins at the base of the neck and then crawls slowly up to the top of the head.
But that was mild compared to the time our wobbly station wagon pulled up at a red light beside a jaunty little red convertible with a bald man driver apparently in a midlife crisis.
As the gentleman sat there revving up his little red machine, one of the many riders in our backseat leaned out our open window and challenged, “Hey buddy, wanna race?” That driver looked appalled while all my passengers cheered. Thank heaven the light changed, and we were able to rattle off out of sight.
Another sound that increased in summer was the soft sniffle or muffled sob just after bedtime as a junior-sized visitor tried to spend his first night away from home without mom or dad. That sound was often followed by the sound of a car motor as junior was returned home.
When we’re on the porch now we hear the neighbor kids playing outside, but with air-conditioning and fans, the windows are closed against those happy sounds. Again, due to air-conditioning, car windows are usually up, which eliminates conversations between cars, unless it’s by cell phone.
The one sound that has been magnified over the years is the silence I spoke of before, the emptiness, because so many who were here all those years ago are gone now. I am fortunate because I do not live alone, but I do miss the ones who are gone.
AUTHOR’S NOTE; This column was first published in the Greenville Advocate June 13, 2007.
Kathleen Floyd is a volunteer citizen columnist, who serves The Daily Advocate readers weekly with her column Back Around the House II. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.