Scent of SummerBy Georgia H. Smart

The shrill chirp of katydids always gets to me. Add to this the soft glow of a street lamp filtering through the leaves of a big maple tree, the sound of children playing down the block, and the creak of our old porch swing as I relax in the warmth of a summer evening. These combined sounds have the power to transport me back in time over four decades, and I am a child again. I feel the silkiness of sun-warmed dust as I sift it between my bare toes, the heat of a hot afternoon sun flushing my cheeks and heating my body. I walk slowly, savoring the smell of the unpaved streets as I near my own home after a day of play with little friends.And in the evening, supper over and the dishes done, with the pure pleasure and stamina of the very young, I run and play some more. Then, breathing hard, I sit for a few minutes on the front stoop with the family, my head resting on Mama’s knee. We love this time of evening, the quiet, the beginning coolness of the night. We watch the fireflies with their flashing glow and the June bugs batting against the screen door, seeking the inside light.Then, on the next corner, I hear the sounds of big brothers and friends gathering under the streetlight for games — Red Light, Hide-and- Go-Seek, Kick the Can — and I beg to go too.I am allowed only the privilege of standing on the fringe of their activity and observing since I am too young to play, they say.Too soon, too soon, I hear Mama’s call. Time to come in. Reluctantly I head for home, a little sullen because the boys can stay longer.The soft dust is cooler on my bare feet now. Passing a house, I hear a piano, the sound pretty and bright and happy. I tarry a few minutes and listen with pleasure. I move on past another neighbor’s flower garden and stop again — this time to sniff the sweetly scented night air from their flower garden.Young as I am, I wish these joys would never end. When I walk into our kitchen, tired at last, I dread the chore ahead. I think, it’s so much fun to go barefoot, but I wish — I wish! Mama wouldn’t make me wash my dirty feet tonight!

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