It's summertime and I'm in heaven! Maybe it's because I was raised at the beach in Southern California where most of the year it was like summer and I loved it. I remember when my family first moved there from Illinois. I was in the fourth grade and I was shocked to see how many of my new classmates were barefooted. Nobody ever went barefooted in Chicago. I remember looking on the floor behind my desk and seeing these great big, dirty feet. They were Red McKinley's. Then I looked around the rest of the room and most of the kids weren't wearing shoes either. I was the one who was odd in my socks and tennis shoes.
Dad and I were both brought up in Manhattan Beach and we went to the same school. (When I think about it he was barefooted too.) His house was located in what we called the "back country." The beach sand went up a hill about four or five blocks and on the other side of the sand hill the sand stopped and regular soil took over. Commercial crops were grown there and there was an abundance of beautiful trees and flowers. I lived on the beach where not much grew but "beach moss."
When Dad and I grew up and eventually were married, we bought our first house in the back country. Neither of us had ever planted a vegetable garden or anything else for that matter. In 1941, with the attack on Pearl Harbor, we Americans found ourselves in World War II. Immediately, everyone who could, planted a "Victory Garden." We had the space, so we bought a ton of seeds to show our patriotism. Even though it was our first attempt, it would have made Martha Stewart look like an amateur. In our zeal, we over produced and had more vegetables than we could possibly use. We gave our harvest to everyone we knew and we gave it to people we didn't know who were just passing by.
In 1943 Pam was born and our "Victory Garden" went to seed. Dad went into the Navy and was overseas for two years. When he left, we sold our house in the back country and Pam and I moved in with my parents for the duration of the war until Dad came home safely. To this day I have never planted another vegetable garden like that great one! Some years, when the spirit moved him, Dad would put a couple of tomato plants out behind the garage and some years they really went nuts and tomatoes were practically walking into the kitchen. Other years he'd have a flop crop and we never knew why.
Now that Dad's passed on and I'm by myself, I just mooch off Peggy and Danny because they plant a Manhattan Beach garden every year. Pam told me the other day that Terry could have a TV show called "The One-Minute Gardener." This year he doesn't even have a minute so they aren't going to plant anything. I said, "Why don't you do what I do...mooch off Peggy and Danny.
When I think of June I think of blue skies, the yummy smells of steaks on a barbecue that's been cold all winter, and the avalanche of fresh produce at the grocery store. Loading my cart with the beautiful fruits and vegetables, my mind takes me back to that once in a lifetime "Victory Garden." Have a happy June...and don't forget to eat your vegetables.
Talk to You Later,