Heat simmers through our hills as the last week of June makes its exit. Mom always used the expression, "hotter than the Fourth of July," so perhaps July sent her heat in advance. Gardens are flourishing, however, with the first fruits being harvested. Midsummer flowers appear already, with orange pleurisy (butterfly) weed and black-eyed Susans making the fields colorful.
Springtime flowers are more delicate, but sweet-scented, while summer flowers are bright and showy. The seasons seem to slide by swiftly, but the days are longer now, and the evenings are cooler and delightful. One thing never changes, and that's the lightning bugs that begin sparking through the air at dusk.
One of the pleasures of summertime is to sit out in the yard at twilight, watching the lightning bugs turn on their wee lanterns, hearing the frogs croak hoarsely and feeling the cool breeze waft through the air. The tree frogs with their curious "quirr" makes me a little nostalgic, as I recall evenings on the old porch swing, Grandpa O'Dell with his kitchen chair leaned against the wall and Daddy's voice telling us yet another "hobo" tale.
"Twilight is stealing, over the sea/ Shadows are falling dark on the lea/ Borne on the night winds voices of yore/ Come from that far off-shore."
Grandpa chews his Brown Mule tobacco with toothless gums, spits in the coffee can that rests by his side and listens to Daddy. We children are curled up on the swing close to Daddy, and hanging on to his every word. Precious memories ...
My cousin Bobby (Frank) Samples went back in the past to relate another flood story, which is quite interesting -- and tragic. He wrote, "We lived in a narrow hollow near Cedar Grove. The rainstorm started about six in the evening and lasted past midnight. It washed rocks as big as a small car past our house and the noise was thunderous.
"Dad (my Uncle Dick) was working evening shift, and his relief was headed to the plant, which was about 3/4 of a mile further up our hollow. A brush dam had formed near the plant and ruptured. The wall of water caught Carl Melton head-on as he tried to get there. They found his body the next day.
"To add to the misery, Dad called (the telephone line remained open) and said the current had washed the foundation out beneath a still, and its contents were pouring into the water. So besides the water, brush and rocks, there was about 10,000 gallons of raw gasoline on top of the deluge.
"We shut the pilot light off on the stove and prayed others would realize the danger of a massive explosion. The fumes would make your eyes water, but fortunately, the swift flow carried the gasoline to the river before it could ignite. We were very anxious for about an hour. Our house was on a rise that kept the water from rising enough to damage anything.
"An investigator came by the next morning and found a half-gallon Mason jar completely full of water, but we have no idea how much rain actually fell."