1928 - Alderson High School - 1968

 

 

LAZY SUMMER DAYS
Dan Duff


The dog days of summer are here. These are the days when you lay back and do only those things that are necessary to sustain life and limb. To put off until tomorrow what you can. I know, I know, the story of the ant and the grasshopper and all that, but in my waning years, I donít need to expend that last ounce of energy in the summer to keep me through the Winter. On some evenings I reminisce about those lazy, hazy Summer days in Alderson.

Summer time in Alderson lets you lay back against an old Willow Tree by the Greenbrier River, casting a fishing line in and spending hours hoping those fish wonít disturb you too much while you cat-nap.

Summer in Alderson is a time when you can lay in a lush meadow of Kentucky bluegrass and watch the clouds make identifiable shapes in the sky. Hey, was that a poodle. I think I saw a dragon a while ago.

Summer in Alderson, when you can go for a walk in the woods and the only sound you hear is your feet as they plod through the dry leaves on the forest floor. To watch Squirrels gathering hickory nuts and scampering across the tree-limb expressway, filling the storage locker full of food for the winter.

Summer in Alderson, when your out of state relatives come to visit and you get to meet cousins for the first time and sometimes hopefully for the last. When you lay in bed and try to stay awake while listening to the older relatives relate stories of the good old days. Suddenly, there in the darkness, you know why you donít get away with much, because your parents did the same stupid things you do and they got caught too.

Summer in Alderson, when your parents tell you that picking these (cherries, berries, apples. peaches) you name it, will be mighty tasty when the snow is blowing in January. You donít think so, while you are picking briars out of places you didnít know you had places. Come January all the briars and blisters are forgotten and YES, that blackberry cobbler does taste mighty fine.

Summer in Alderson, when you go to Rock Bar and join in the fun, and show off your new bathing suit that is actually an old pair of blue jeans you cut off, because the knees were out of them anyway.

Summer in Alderson is cook outs in the back yard and the clank of horse shoes, of new mown lawns and the smell of fresh dug black dirt. Church picnics with everyone bringing a dish to pass. When you look for those certain dishes that the best cooks bring and you try to get them to bring the same dish every year.

Summer in Alderson, when you drive the small streets around town and try to remember who lived where on the street and the events that made and changed their lives.

Summer in Alderson is stopping at the end of the bridge and seeing Elvin Keadleís two pump Esso station across the street. You remember the days you stopped there and saw that someone had changed the advertisement on the billboard. You remember some of those tales from the end of the bridge that H.R. Ayers put to paper and some you are glad he didnít.

Summer in Alderson is taking a trip up to the cemetery to visit family and friends who have moved on from this time and place and are enjoying the fruits of their labors. Where the names and dates on the stones tell you that time is moving by quickly and your final appointment is getting closer.

Summer in Alderson is looking forward to the fourth of July and getting to see all your old classmates and friends who seem to have grown so much older than you. You try to catch up on all their children, grandchildren and where they are living now and you know you wonít remember much more than how much gray hair they have and how much weight they have gained since the last time you ran into them.. You have people come up to you and call you by name and you havenít the foggiest idea who they are. Then when you finally find out, you are embarrassed because it is a cousin you should have known. Of course that works the other way too. When you see an old friend and go up and extend your hand for a shake and they give you that ďwho are you lookĒ.

Summer in Alderson is a time for nostalgia. Whether youíve lived there for thirty or forty years or you havenít, each person or building, like a post card brings back a vignette from a bygone era. A place cut from time and space that would not fit anywhere else in the universe. Of people, uncomplicated and undaunted by the outside world. Of people, whether successful or not, rich or poor, sick or well, take a few days each year and set aside all the things that regulate their life, wherever they may be and travel back to a little place at the crossroads of yesterday and tomorrow. To spend a few days refilling their hearts with all the peace, joy, laughter and tears of remembrance of those things that keep Alderson alive on the back burner of our mind for the rest of the year.

 

Summer in Alderson is a time when ...................................................