But July days seem to last forever
If any month is vacation month, it must be July. Things slow down some at the church I serve, because in July many of the saints flee the Texas heat and head for the hills and the beaches.
For me, July brings back memories of being out of school for what seemed an endless summer when, as author Fred Buechner describes it, we “ran forever through the firefly dusk.” When we were children, hours and days had not yet experienced the inflation of age. It was a time when a dollar could still buy something special, and a day could still last forever.
On July mornings, my school friend, Tom, would appear at 8 o’clock sharp at the kitchen screen door, eager for a day of riding bikes. A little peanut butter and jelly on toast, and we were gone for the day, exploring back alleys and building great forts in the woods. In those days, if there were reasons for parents to worry, they were not yet aware of them; and we knew that we could stay out until near sunset, when my mother would ring the bell that meant that supper was on the table.
An only child, I was raised by my parents and my maternal Grandma Butcher, who was completely the product of another age and time. When she was a child my age, it was still “18-something,” which was incomprehensible to me. I still have 27 years of her diaries, which she kept as religiously as she attended church. They include entries like, “Fussed at Blair to mow the lawn.” There was a fair amount of fussing with Grandma, as I remember; but I loved her. I can still smell her violet perfume. I used to swear I could tell whether Grandma had ever had a dollar bill in her purse by simply smelling it.
Tempus fugit, they say (it’s a little easier to accept the swift flight of time when it’s expressed in Latin). Or, as the great clock on the steeple of Park Cities Baptist puts it, “Night Cometh.” I avoid Northwest Highway if I can, because that sounds so ominous. But when I get into one of these July reveries, I see the truth of it. It’s been more than a half-century since Tom knocked at the kitchen door. He’s retired now after a long career with the telephone company. Night cometh, and one of these days we’ll both hear Mom’s bell, ringing in the distance, announcing that dinner is on. And there will be fresh sweet corn and home-grown tomatoes, and Grandma with her smell of violets, happily fussing at me to mow the lawn.
That’s the way it is in July. May it be so for you.