Saturday, June 14, 2014

When the Weather is High

by Estelle Jergens
from Zydeco Cakes

Reading back over the past few weeks of blog posts I see that I'm not the only person with summer on my mind. I don't look forward to summer the way I did when I was younger. Mostly because when you're an adult with a career, you don't get summers off. In fact, I don't remember the last time I actually took a vacation. But lately I've been thinking back to my childhood and how much I used to look forward to summertime then. 

Life was great, wasn't it? School was out and long, lazy days stretched in front of us filled with infinite possibilities. We rarely did anything more exciting than swim in the city pool (which was free back then), roller-skate around the neighborhood (which was how I broke my arm), or pull together a game of Kick-the-Can with the other kids, but oh! how we loved those long summer evenings. Except for that one neighbor who thought kids shouldn't play in the streets (What?!?) the whole neighborhood was our magical play space. 

Vacations were wonderful, probably because as kids, we didn't have to do anything to get ready for them. My mama, on the other hand, spent days frying up chicken, making homemade rolls, throwing together potato salad, and shopping for Shasta and other treats we only ever got when we were on our yearly road trip. (I was particularly fond of Black Cherry Shasta.) Mama did laundry for all five of us (that count includes her and Daddy) and packed every one of our suitcases, too. And then she spent the whole drive to visit family, all 600 miles of it, dozing in the front seat while Daddy drove. As a kid, I never could figure out what was wrong with her.

We didn't have seat belts back then, and if we did, we never used them. Daddy used to build up the back seat with blankets and pillows, creating a sort of "playpen" for us kids. We'd color and read and play the license plate game until we got bored with it and then we'd stretch out for a nap. If Mama ever woke up long enough, us kids would move to the front seat with her so Daddy could get in the back to close his eyes. Even my persistent car sickness couldn't ruin our summer vacation for me -- although I hear that when I spewed all over Mama, she wasn't too happy about it.

To this day, those remain some of my favorite memories and I defy you to find a better potato salad than the one my mama makes. I'd love to hear about your favorite summertime memories. If you have a minute to share, please do.

And don't forget to enter our Cozy Days of Summer giveaway. Jacklyn is giving away your choice of any book from the Piece of Cake series (except Rebel Without a Cake, which won't be out until September.) Leave a comment before midnight tonight for a chance to win. At the stroke of 12:00 the next drawing begins! 

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Jacklyn Brady lives on the Gulf Coast and writes the Piece of Cake Mystery series which is set in New Orleans and features cake artist and trained pastry chef, Rita Lucero.

Rebel Without a Cake, book #5 in the Piece of Cake Mystery Series, is available for pre-order now! Jacklyn loves to hear from readers. Connect with her on the web: Website | Facebook | Twitter

photo credit (rollerskates): just.Luc via photopin cc
photo credit (suitcases): malias via photopin cc

68 comments:

  1. I still love summer. With my TV shows on hiatus and an ultimate Frisbee league going, it still feels like a different time of the year. I have so many great memories of camping with my family during the summer, playing games and going for walks at whatever state park we were visiting that year. And this last week, we were vacationing in a national park as a family, so some things haven't changed.

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    1. Oh, I absolutely love visiting national parks! What a great thing to do in the summer!

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  2. love this series and most all of the characters in 'em, can't wait to read more.

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    1. Thanks Malka! Some of my favorite characters yet are coming up in Rebel Without a Cake. Hope you enjoy that one!

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  3. I love this series.

    kaye.killgore@comcast.net

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    1. Thank you, Kaye! I'm so pleased you like it.

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  4. A series with cakes?! Yum! I love summertime. It's my favorite season. I have fond memories of playing glow in the dark tag, riding my bike up and down the street, playing American gladiators on our swingset with the neighborhood kids.

    brookeb811 at gmail dot com

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    1. Your summertime fun sounds great! I'm not sure how you play glow in the dark tag, but I'd love to learn :)

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  5. I'm not familiar with this series but always in the mood for some thing new. Summer vacations, for me, was always working on my parents farm, though a couple times during the summer we'd go on a picnic. Those were good memories of seeing some thing new and different plus a delicious lunch of hot dogs roasted on an open fire, potato salad, pie and whatever else my Mother made for us.

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    1. Ah, Dianne, I don't think there's anything better than a hot dog roasted over a fire. Yum!

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  6. I haven't read any books in this series but I would love to, so thanks very much for the opportunity to win a book!

    skkorman AT bellsouth DOT net

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    1. You're so welcome! Good luck in the drawing :)

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  7. I agree that summer as an adult is different than it was when I was a kid. It's still my favorite time of year. And since I'm an elementary librarian I still get my summers off and that's when I get most of my reading done.

    bevarcher AT me DOT com

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    1. Oh, you have the best of several worlds! A librarian at an elementary school, working around books all day, summers off ... sounds wonderful.

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  8. My mother made fantastic potato salad. that brings back so many wonderful summer memories.
    debby236 at gmail dot com

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    1. I think we all remain forever faithful to our mother's potato salad, don't you?

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  9. I loved summer as a kid and still love it. We used to pack up the station wagon and drive to the lake for 2 weeks. Fishing, swimming and enjoying family time together. What a wonderful memory. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Two weeks at the lake every year? That sounds like an incredible memory!

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  10. Your post was beautiful and nostalgic since I grew up when we went bike riding all over the city with friends all day long, roller skating and swimming at the public pool, rode to the library and appreciated long, hot summers. I still do but they are different now. Too much regimentation and schedules. I love the old school days. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

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    1. Aw, thanks Elliot! The world sure has changed, hasn't it? My mother used to send us off on our bikes and tell us to be home for supper. I wouldn't dare do that with a kid now.

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  11. my favorite summertime memory is the summer my family to our house, which we still live in..........moving from an apartment to a house was such a big deal for us!!! I got my own room!! then less than 3 weeks later, while Dad was away on a business trip, the Blackout of 1977 happened!!! Mom, my brother & I were so frightened!!!
    I also remember my brother & I would go to the movies almost every Friday.....

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    1. Oh, yes, that first big house with your own room! Such a rite of passage :) I can imagine how frightening a big blackout would be, especially in a new house. All those odd creaks and groans. And summer movies were the best!

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  12. Loved your post, Jacklyn! My summertime memories are of playing outside, all day. We lived in the country, had lots of woods (for "adventures") and went swimming in the creek.
    patucker54 at aol dot com

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    1. I can only imagine how great the adventures were if you had woods around. I'm such a big sissy, I'm not sure how I would have fared, but if I'd lived around the woods my whole life I like to think I'd have been brave ;)

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  13. My favorite summertime memories include packing everyone in the car and heading south for a family vacation plus playing outside until the street lights came on.

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    1. Such freedom in playing outside until the lights came on! Great memory!

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  14. My favorite summertime memories are going rowing on
    Lake Goerge with my Dad

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    1. I'll bet that was so nice. I've never been rowing, but just thinking about doing that with my dad makes me sigh with happiness. I'm just loving all of these summertime memories.

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  15. My mom makes the best potato salad ever! Summertime memories? June at my Grandma Rose's house was always wonderful. The flowers were so pretty and smelled so good and she always had cookies for us. And we spent so much time playing in the water tank.

    ElaineE246(at)msn(dot)com

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    1. On, Elaine, I hadn't thought about my grandmother's flower garden in forever, but when I read your comment, I could smell it all around me. Thank you!

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  16. My age is going to show with this, but when summer came, my elementary school would change to an activities center for the local kids. They had summer tutors, art and music classes, reading programs library access, organized sports and so much more. This went from the Monday after the school year ended till the Friday before school started again. It was a wonderful time to grow up and one of the reasons I went into teaching. The summer staff at the school volunteered their time including those who served the lunch to all of us.

    Thank you to those men and women and to the authors who are making this summer a memorable one as well.

    DelAnne
    InspirationalAngel@hotmail.com

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    1. What a great memory, DelAnne, and what great people to volunteer all that time.

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  17. My summers sound similar to yours. We would go to a public pool to swim when dad got home from work. Vacations were usually spent in NJ on a beach and dad would wake us up super early one of those days to go look for shells before they cleaned the beaches. When I got a little older I would spend a week or so at my oldest sister's house, she had a pool and my nieces and I would swim all day. (Mind you my oldest sister is 20 years older than me and my oldest niece is 5 years younger than me, so we were playmates). We also play a lot of dodge ball in the summer with the neighborhood kids, in those days when you could play on the street.
    momzillasteel at gmail dot com

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    1. What great memories, Debbie. Your family sounds like my dad's. He was 19 years older than his youngest brother, and he had an uncle who was, I think, 3 years old than him. Now I want to go out and start a rousing game of dodge ball in the street, but my neighbors would probably try to have me locked up so I wouldn't hurt myself ;D

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  18. Summer of 1956. Spent most of the time out at the lake cabin with best friend. Parents called it Summer of Love on the Lake. Well, we were 15 and the boys were cute... :)

    kpbarnett1941[at]aol.com

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    1. LOL. That's hilarious, but boys really are cute when you're 15, aren't they? I'm not sure they've ever quite so cute again.

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  19. The last few summers I've been enjoying the county library's reading program. I've even won a few different things. Any time I can get reading done and maybe win for it...that's a blast.
    But summer really isn't my favorite time of the year. It gets over 100 degrees here...No Likey!!

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    1. I'm not a fan of the heat either, Britt. When I was a kid I could run around outside all day. Now I dash from the air conditioned house to the air conditioned car as fast as I can.

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  20. Summer has always been my favorite season. When my kids were young and in school I couldn't wait for summer vacation so they would be home every day.

    Kit3247(at)aol(dot)com

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    1. I always felt the same way when my kids were young, especially after I stopped working at my evil day job and got to work from home. I just loved having the kids home.

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  21. I've already bought them all.

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    1. Thank you, Sue! I'll enter your name into the drawing anyway and we'll figure out something else if I draw your name.

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  22. Delightful memories. We used to drive all over the USA during part of the summer, camping as we went. My father was an airline pilot and when his vacation time was running out we'd get to an airport so he could "deadhead" back home. Then whenever he had several days off in a row, he'd fly in to wherever we were and join us. I got to see a lot of the country.

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    1. Oh, Libby, that sounds wonderful. I absolute loved camping with my family when I was young and I still love traveling around the country and discovering new places. What a great way for your dad to be part of it.

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  23. Summer always meant lots of time to read and I loved it!

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    1. Oh yes! I remember lying on the lawn in the shade, reading Nancy Drew books when I was little, and then later doing the same thing with Victoria Holt.

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  24. i have similar memories. there were not alot of fast food restaurants when i was a kid so picnics were what we had all the time. My dad has alot of siblings so we would pool our resources and rent a big house at the beach. it would be all the aunts and uncles and cousins and grandparents in one place. us kids would walk along the road and pick up cans and bottles to turn in for $$, then buy candy (which was only 5cents back then). homemade icecream, chicken,burgers and hotdogs..lots of fun.

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    1. That sounds like a great time, Marcy. What a wonderful tradition.

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  25. Nice memories

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

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  26. Living in northern Minnesota and not liking cold weather means that I cherish every warm summer day---even when I'm swatting mosquitos.
    suefarrell.farrell@gmail.com

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    1. LOL! Well, yes, mosquitoes are one of the downsides of summer, that's true. But I know what you mean. I spent my early years in Montana and later in Utah. We had lots of cold and snow, so summer was a welcome change.

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  27. My favorite memories consist of jumping rope, playing hopscotch and jax all day, having barbecues and reading. Those were the days!!

    Lauigl [at] Carolina [dot] rr [dot] com

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    1. Oh, goodness! You brought back so many memories. I'd probably end up in the ER if I tried to jump rope now. LOL

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  28. I don't like the heat, so summer was never a favorite season for me. I remember, however, the best time every July. My grandfather loved holidays and loved to celebrate. His birthday was July 7th, so the partying started the weekend before the 4th of July and lasted through the weekend after the 7th. There would be tons of food and drinks and we hung out in the back yard. We'd have water balloon tosses, egg tosses, and lawn jarts (which I believe are deemed too dangerous now). What fun we had.

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    1. That sounds truly wonderful, Katreader. Your grandfather sounds like a very smart man. Combine celebrations, gather the whole family around ... perfect!

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  29. Those road trips when I as young were my favorites, too. But I got to sit in the front seat since I got car sick in the back. I still think back to them now when I am out driving on the highway before dawn. It's so peaceful. Good times. lkish77123 at gmail dot com

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  30. Now I'm happy to read a book on the back deck every sunny day.

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  31. As I prepare for a road trip this week, I also have been thinking back to those road trips when I was young. Mainly, the music--Roy Orbison, Michael Jackson, Paul Simon. I think I'll be adding some of those songs to the playlist for this trip. That is after I do the laundry, pack the suitcases, and make the lunches.

    jeosmond@gmail.com

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  32. Always loved to road trip to see family.... Thank you for reminding of those summer trips.

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  33. My favorite things about summer were sitting outside on the patio in my backyard reading with my mom and the walks my mom and I took after dinner every night.

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  34. I grew up, and still live, in Texas. So I have great memories of playing outside all summer. We would play in the springlers too combat the sizzling heat. Then in the evenings we'd play kick ball or catch lightning bugs for our jars. And drink gallons of sweet iced tea.

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  35. I lived on a farm with my 5 brothers & sisters and we lived in the house next to my 7 cousins so summertime was one of my favorite times to just play outside as late as we could! After the daily farm chores, we got together with our cousins and swung on vines in the woods, played hide & go seek in the corn stalks, rode our bikes back & forth between our houses, and when twilight hit, we were all out there chasing fireflies till it got too dark to see! Oh how I miss those simpler times...*sigh*

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  36. I remember sitting on a wicker rocking chair on our screened-in back porch, reading Nancy Drew. I hated the humidity in Northern Illinois, but it doesn't hold a candle to humidity in New Orleans in the summer! My daughter is in med school there and we love to visit during the other three seasons! I've read all the Piece of Cake mysteries and can't wait for the next one!

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  37. Estelle's recollections of her childhood summer sound so very much like mine. I was born & raised in Nebraska where the summers were hot & humid day & night. My girl pals & I would gather on my front porch and build a "doll" house out of a cardboard box using the box flaps as wall & floors. My mom would give us scraps of fabric left over from her sewing projects for us to use as curtains for the windows. We had a wallpaper sample catalog. We'd pick out pieces of wallpaper & paste them on the walls of the rooms in our "house". I can't remember what we used as furniture, possibly we made that our of cardboard too. We'd dress our paper dolls up in their best outfits and put them in the house pretending they were doing this or doing that. Such imaginations we had back then! In the evening we'd catch fireflies. Your series sounds delightful. Thank you for offering us a chance to win a book of our choice. Sandy in So. Cali

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  38. Thank you so much everyone for stopping by yesterday! Congrats to Sue Farrell, who won the drawing! Good luck on today's drawing on today's post :)

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