Tub O’ Soda, 10″ x 10″ Oil on gessobord
Original page from Michne Camping Log, 1971
My father kept our camping log all the years we camped. This page has the story of the day I won the “floating mattress!”
It was July 16, 1971. The perfect summer day as I recall. My father was hosting the annual work picnic. I won a green raft that day for my athletic ability in the egg race! It was my biggest claim to fame as a 9 year old. I remember reaching into a tub of iced cold soda with what seemed like every variety ever invented. It was sheer heaven- all the FREE SODA I could drink! Pull the ring tab- wear it on your finger for a bit before carelessly dropping it somewhere in the grass. Take that long first sip…..ahhhhhhhhhh. Life was good.
Cherry Kool-Aid, 10″ x 10″ Oil on Gessobord
Making Kool-Aid was hit-or-miss. First, you had to have packet. Chances are, we didn’t have enough sugar to fill the measuring cup. Next, to find the pitcher- (dump out whatever old drink was brewing in that!) After accidentally snorting the unsweetened powder when you opened it, get your spoon, add sugar, stir, then pray that you would have ice in the ice-cube maker! If all was right with the world, you would have the perfect sugary cup of cherry Kool-Aid. All in a summer’s days work!
Frozen Pink Lemonade
After ripping the plastic strip off the can, removing the aluminum disk from the end, I would hold that can for a few seconds then wait for the “scccuuuupppppp” sound as the plop of pink creamy ice fell into the pitcher. I remember being in such a hurry to make it that filling 3 whole cans of water seemed like an eternity. The sticky, gooey mess would be left on the counter, along with whatever utensil could find to make it. Then, after selecting a glass as impressive as this pink drink, I would find the perfect spot to enjoy it. The ritual involved with pink lemonade hasn’t changed much and while buying a carton may seem easier, there is something about the canned frozen pink lemonade that remains my prefered method of classic, summer-must enjoyment.
Five Turns, 6″ x 6″ oil on gesso board
For a penny, you could turn it once, but for a nickel, you could turn the knob on the gumball machine five times! And when you are a kid, five turns was a LOT of gum! The best gumball machines were the FORD ones- where you put in a penny and slid the lever to get a rectangular piece of gum. Dad would always reach deep into his pocket, and give us each a “few cents”. I am glad to still see gumball machines around, but now you can get almost anything- even rings! Yes, they are a quarter now, but some day, kids today will say…remember when we used to get rings from the gumball machines?
Be Careful! 6″ x 6″ Oil on gesso board
If there is any phrase I heard most in my life, it was “Be careful!” It didn’t really matter what we were doing, we were bound to hear those two words. I’m sure someone at the Saf-T Lollipop company worried, in 1942, that toddlers would choke on their candy, hence the handy loop! Walking on a dock near water with a lollipop would have nearly put my mother over the edge. I wonder if a Saf-T lollipop would have put her fears to rest? Probably not. I can hear her chorus of “Ooo, be carfeful, easy, be careful, watch your step….honey…take your time…careful, careful…….” “Don’t worry, Mom, it’s a Saf-T pop!”
Last Piece…For Now, 6″ x 6″ Oil on gesso board
Fudge, in the summer, says “we went somewhere special”. Cape Cod, Maine, Vermont, the Adirondacks, the Connecticut shore…where ever you vacation, I guarantee there is a shop selling homemade fudge-like what we make at home in December! I remember on Canada Street in Lake George, there used to be a shop on the corner that made their own fudge. The “maker” would spread it out on a giant slap of marble and work it back and forth. Taffy would be being pulled on some contraption, and the smell of sugary corn would be wafting in the air. But eating fudge in the summer is like the reward for making it to your destination. You savor each bite, knowing soon, it will be the last piece. But before we know it, December will be here and guaranteed fudge will show up in someone’s Christmas Cookie gift plate.
Summer’s Candy: Salt Water Taffy, 6″ x 6″ Oil on gesso board
If there was one candy I would equate with summer, it’s salt water taffy. Always best eaten on a warm (almost sweltering) day. On an ocean boardwalk, or the streets of Lake George (where this baby is from), salt water taffy reminds me of a content moment. All is okay for that moment chewing away- two bites, if you’re lucky. Favorite flavors include orange, banana and peppermint…but really, an taffy is fine by me!
Thanks Sweet Tooth Candy Shop (Lake George) for the candy!