I love this time of year when the end of summer and the beginning of fall mesh together. It makes you relish the fading pleasures of summer's warmth and light.
In my childhood, and even into my children's preteen years, we would ride our bikes to the river, with rolled-up rugs strapped to the back rack. The load was decided by the size of the helper. The river banks had a dock with sunken-in barrels for us to stand in. We would unroll the rugs into the water, then soap them up on the dock and scrub with our might. Then, with our fingers slipping on the slick weave, we would dump them back into the water to rinse them off. My mother taught me how to roll up the rug as you soap and scrub, to keep to your space on the deck, and how to control the heavy bundle in the water.
I remember letting go of the smaller rugs on purpose, to see how long they would float, and then snatching them (with a jump in my chest) just as it was almost too late. We lost a few brushes and bricks of soap in the current, but I'm pretty sure we always brought home all the rugs we took out.
The river water would soak my arms and belly and streak my shins (which now itch at the thought of it), as I huffed and puffed the clean rugs up the bank to let them drip dry on the wood beam. We often left the bigger rugs there until the next day, but pedaling home seemed exhausting nonetheless.
To mimic my sweet summer memories, I gathered my supplies (rugs, wash pan, biodegradable soap, and a stiff brush) and set out to clean my rugs, enjoying the sun's warmth on my back while scrubbing.
I didn't go to the river. Our back deck was my scrubbing station, and I was glad I didn't have far to drag the sopping rugs to dry.
So, my friends, I'll hang on to my sweet memories until summer calls again...
What kinds of traditions do you remember of your youthful summer days? Did you blend work and play?