I had forgotten how much I enjoy Rick Bragg’s reading until I was listening to an audiobook with him reading stories from some of his magazine articles. The touch of his accent adds to his skillful and descriptive story telling.
I would encourage you to read his Endless Summer piece in Southern Living. It is brief, entertaining, and for some may bring back memories of your own youthful summers.
A flood of memories about my childhood summer came streaming through my mind. The freedom to roam around town and the nearby country was wonderful blessing that went missing in my own child’s life and that of so many other kids these days. I remember being forbidden to go anywhere near the sand pit ponds and pools on the edge of town. Apparently, kids would disappear in the bottomless depths of the ponds never to be seen or heard again. Somehow forbidden means it is a must do. Do, I did. I can’t remember the story I told my parents about how I got a serious cut on one of my toes. The real story is that I was wading barefoot and catching tadpoles in one of the forbidden pools. Major ouch… and blood. It was a good thing there weren’t any sharks in that pool else I would have been a goner for sure. Unfortunately, there was broken glass in the pool and my toe found it.
Well, back to Rick Bragg’s piece. This paragraph about when school starts especially tugged at my heart:
The children start school now in August. They say it has to do with air-conditioning, but I know sadism when I see it. I think a bunch of people who were not allowed to stomp in a mud hole when they were young—who were never allowed to hold translucent tadpoles in their hands and watch their hearts move—decided to make sure that no child would ever have the necessary time to contemplate a grand mud hole ever again.
And I do remember the feel of mud mush between my toes. Do you?