How I Coped with Summer

Now that fall has come, I reflect back to “those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer,” and as the song says, I wish we could just stay in that season. Like most, this past summer went by way too fast. It wasn’t as long or hot as other summers. Of course, like everyone else, I complained about the heat, but I had my ways of dealing with it.

The window air conditioning unit in the spare room was my best friend. With the help of ceiling fans scattered throughout the house, it kept things pretty cool. I drank plenty of water, as I always do. With a few pieces of ice, it also kept me cool. Then of course, there was my old pal, Dr. Pepper. It was just what the doctor ordered, although it took away some of the water I drank, but that was okay because I could always drink more water.

On summer evenings when the weather cooled, I sat in my back yard and did email or read a book, slapping mosquitos when necessary and eventually moving indoors to avoid being bitten. I sometimes went with friends to concerts in the park, where we bought ice cream at a nearby stand.

In the early mornings before it got hot, I took long walks by the creek, feeling the cool breeze caress my bare legs and arms. It was a great way to start a hot summer day.

When I was growing up, my family often took trips to the mountains to cool off during the summer, but now, my family is either dead or scattered across the country, and I don’t have many opportunities to visit the highlands, especially since I don’t drive.

In my younger adult years, I attended a camp for the visually impaired on Casper Mountain, approximately 200 miles south, then west of Sheridan, Wyoming, where I now live. Here, I made friends and learned computer and other skills and had plenty of opportunities to walk in the woods and enjoy nature. Although the camp is still there today, there’s no adult program anymore due to an unwillingness by the state and other entities to pay for it.

Now, summer is gone, and fall is upon us. I already miss those days of relaxing in my back yard with a Dr. Pepper and a good book, the sounds of band music floating through the air at the park, the salted caramel ice cream I enjoyed during such a concert. Oh well, there’s always next year, isn’t there?

How did you cope with summer heat? Are you glad fall is here? Why or why not?

 

Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

We Shall Overcome

How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

Click to hear an audio trailer.

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Saturday Song: My Sweet Lord by George Harrison

While living in Tucson, Arizona, Dad and I spent the summer of 1971 with Grandma here in Sheridan, Wyoming, so Dad could help with the family business after Grandpa passed. I was ten years old, and my Uncle Jon was in high school. When he wasn’t at football practice or with friends, he and I spent time together listening to music on his cassette player.

Here’s a George Harrison classic that was on one of his tapes. Although I was too young at the time to understand the song’s meaning, the chord progression, electric kazoo solo, and repeated words and phrases resonated with me, and they still do today. Enjoy, and have a great Saturday.

 

 

Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

We Shall Overcome

How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

Click to hear an audio trailer.

Like me on Facebook.

 

Saturday Song: I Feel the Earth Move by Carole King

In the summer of 1971 when I was ten years old, my father and I traveled from our home in Tucson, Arizona, to Sheridan, Wyoming. Grandpa Johnson passed away the winter before, and Grandma needed Dad to help her with the family business, at least for the summer. Johnson Novelty sold coin-operated machines such as jukeboxes, pool tables, vending machines, and video games to businesses in Sheridan and the surrounding area. We ended up moving to Sheridan a couple of years later.
That summer though, memorable events included a rodeo parade and a picnic in the mountains where an adult family friend and I discovered a cave. There were also numerous trips to bars and other establishments where Dad repaired and serviced machines. Of course I was too young to go into the bars.
I also spent many happy hours in the shop with a couple of girls down the street who were my age. We listened to music on a jukebox and played games. Pinball and bowling were two games where I had marginal success despite my limited vision.
The song below was one of many we played on the jukebox. Although I couldn’t understand what it was saying, I loved the beat. This version has a cool drum rift at the end that my younger brother Andy would have loved playing along with on his drum set when he was a kid. Enjoy, and have a great Saturday.

Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

We Shall Overcome

How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

Click to hear an audio trailer.

Like me on Facebook.

My Late Husband in Summer (Poetry)

Summer arrived sometime last week, so here’s a poem that appears in the current issue of Magnets and Ladders. You can click the title to hear me read it. Enjoy and stay cool.

 

MY LATE HUSBAND IN SUMMER

 

He sits outside in the sun

at the picnic table in his wheelchair.

Sometimes he wears a hat—

often he does not.

 

With headphones, he listens

either to a recorded book or ball game.

His favorite books are westerns, mysteries.

The more blood and guts the better,

as far as he’s concerned.

 

His favorite baseball team, the Colorado Rockies,

don’t often play well.

Nevertheless, he’s ever faithful to the end.

 

He asks me to bring watermelon in a bowl,

already sliced, the seeds gone,

so all he has to do is enjoy their taste.

Like a little boy with a sweet tooth,

he asks for cookies, candy

with Pepsi, Mountain Dew, or Propel.

 

In late afternoon or early evening,

picnic table shaded, I join him,

check email on my lap top,

listen to an audiobook of my own.

With the two of us side by side,

I feel a sense of peace

despite the work involved

in getting us here.

 

Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

We Shall Overcome

How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

Click to hear an audio trailer.

Like me on Facebook.

 

 

Summer Poetry and Music

The following poem appears in the spring/summer issue of Magnets and Ladders. To hear me read it and sing two songs I associate with summer, click here.

***

SUMMER HEAT

 

Warmth ushers in flowers’ fragrance,

new-mown grass, steak on a barbecue,

happy cries of children, thud of ball against pavement.

Oh, to sit on the back patio, hear a ball game on the radio

while a summer breeze caresses the back of your neck.

***

Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

We Shall Overcome

How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

 

 

Summer (A Poem)

Several years ago, my friend Christine and I were taking a poetry class at the local senior center. One hot afternoon, our instructor asked us to sit outside for about ten minutes and listen to sounds around us, then write a poem about what we heard. Below is what I wrote. Click this link to hear me read it. I hope it warms your heart on a wintry day.

***

SUMMER

 

In the heat of the afternoon, saws whine.

Equipment clatters, rattles.

Cars enter the parking lot.

A plane flies overhead.

A tepid breeze kisses the back of my neck,

brings little relief from the relentless sun.

I stare at my reflection in the window, see nothing.

The cool interior beckons.

***

Christine’s poem inspired by this exercise was recently published in Helen: A Literary Magazine and nominated for a Pushcart prize. Although she didn’t win, it’s still an honor to be nominated. I inspired this poem, and you can read it here.

Now, it’s your turn. Take about ten minutes and listen to sounds around you: the hum of your computer or furnace, a dog barking outside, your neighbor shoveling newly fallen snow from his walk while his car idles in the driveway. Then write about what you hear. It doesn’t have to be a poem. Please feel free to share your results in the comments field.

***

Abbie J. Taylor 010Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

Front Book Cover - We Shall OvercomeWe Shall Overcome

Cover: How to Build a Better Mousetrap by Abbie Johnson TaylorHow to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

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A Seasonal Parody

Summer is already upon us, picnics, concerts in the park, parades, and of course love. One of the songs I sang when I worked as a registered music therapist in a nursing home was about strolling down a shady lane, holding hands with the one you love and that person being your tootsie wootsie. To hear a barbershop version, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKvLCwInPGA .

I recently came up with a parody while out walking. You can click on the link below to hear me sing it. Because of my limited vision, I use a cane. Others who are blind or visually impaired walk with dogs.

***

In the good old summertime, in the good old summertime,

strolling down the shady lane with my cane divine,

I hold its handle and swing as I walk, and that’s a very good sign

that it will guide me safely in the good old summertime.

 

In the good old summertime, in the good old summertime, ruff ruff,

strolling down the shady lane with my doggy fine,

I hold his harness, and “forward” I say, and that’s a very good sign

that he will guide me safely in the good old summertime, ruff ruff.

***

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/15213189/good%20old%20summertime%20parody.mp3 ***

What are your memories of summer?

***

Abbie Johnson Taylor, Author

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