Posted by: literallydelicious | June 25, 2010

Hot Summer Days

Back in the days before central air (I mean it existed, but the average family didn’t have it), one of our favorite ways to cool off was going to the lake. We lived not too far from Lake Heyburn — not one of Oklahoma’s prettier lakes, but we weren’t picky. My mom worked much of my growing-up years, so a lot of the time it was her sister Shirley who took us.

We piled as many kids into the car as were around — no seatbelts, no kids’ seats, no silly ideas about how many people should realistically fit in a car seat. The lake was out in the country, with no town nearby, so we always took lunch with us. I don’t know if we always had the same meal or if that particular meal just stuck in my mind: tuna salad sandwiches, chips and store-bought cookies.

We swam until we were hungry, then ate at a wood-and-metal picnic table at the pavilion a hundred feet from shore. After lunch, Shirley made us wait a whole hour before we got back in the water. (Remember the tale that swimming right after eating would cause cramps?)

After swimming the afternoon away, we loaded into the car for the ride home, sunburned (in spite of our liberal use of Coppertone) and tired and satisfied. We doctored our burns with Noxema and began planning when we could get Shirley to take us back.

To this day, the smell of tuna salad or Coppertone takes me back to those lazy summer days.



  1. Cottonwood trees…the sound of the leaves, the smell…takes me back to Deep Eddy–a pool a mile from my grandmother’s house. Our oldest cousin, Paul, would load up any grandkids in Grandmother’s old Chrysler and let us swim. I’m sure he and my sister at times were hoping a few of us would get lost. 🙂

    Lake Austin was only 5 miles from my house and Daddy would take me on Wednesday to ski. The weekends we went to Lake Travis.
    Ah…those were good times.

    • Sounds wonderful. I love cottonwoods . . . wonder if I could put one in my front yard? It would give me something to look forward to in the air besides the emu feathers from down the road!

      I think my most memorable lake trip was when we went to church camp. We were supposed to be in afternoon services, but it was so hot, and the church was an open-air pavilion. Our pastor’s wife decided to sneak us to the lake down the road for a swim. We all loaded into her car, then ducked down until she’d driven through the camp and onto the road. Once we were out of sight, we all popped up . . . except the ones who were in the trunk. They had to stay where they were until we got to the lake. We did leave the trunk propped open a little bit for them! 😉

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