Abundance of summer evening fun.
Plenty. Abundance. Oh, we had it – but were oblivious.
Some Sunday evenings we scampered across the field to my uncle’s house while Mama drove the station wagon along the road and down the lane to Maple Shade Farm. The adults sat in the front yard, visiting. We took turns on the swing hanging from the maple tree, played Freeze Tag, or No-Bears-Are-Out-Tonight. Then, tired of play, we climbed the steps to the front porch and flung ourselves onto the porch swing. We whooped and hollered, pushing from one side to the other, trying to see how high we could go.
When we tired of the games, we came back to the front of the house where the adults still sat, visiting. We heard the Katydids crescendo in the nearby woods, Bob-White calling goodnight, and the occasional hum of a Model T on distant roads away. Crickets, birds, and wildlife settled down in their homes for the night while barn cats stretched and yawned next to us on the lawn.
Several generations of family mingled together on the front lawn of the white house. Gentle quietness and peace prevailed, only I didn’t take time to notice its beauty or its abundance.
Aunt Della served huge bowls of popcorn or watermelon (or both), and poured generous cups of rich chocolate milk from her silver aluminum pitcher. Jersey cows on the farm provided rich, creamy, unpasteurized milk. Rich folds of chocolate poured creamy and full from the pitcher, filling our cups. There was no rationing, just plenty of rich abundance as we gulped the first glass down and held our cups out for more. My aunt poured more foamy chocolate from the pitcher then went back to visiting with adults.
Popcorn pieces and kernels dropped to the ground while we ate. After our frolic on the lawn and swinging on the porch, we were satisfied – more than satisfied – and content. The simple evening – repeated often and again over many summer evenings – was a normal part of life. Adults visited and relaxed on this one day of Sabbath rest; children frolicked on the lawn while birds sang vesper songs. We ate, and drank, were filled and satisfied. We were loved, and we belonged. It was our life and our world. We did not know how good it was.
Then, as night shades dimmed on the horizon, we clamored into the station wagon for the short ride home, singing together evening songs that will always be a part of our childhood: Twilight is Stealing, Now the Light Has Gone Away, and Softly the Evening Vespers. The abundance of music in my childhood follows me today.
I am rich in abundance of blessings. I see it in my mind, and remember in my heart, childhood days when I was oblivious to the treasures that were mine. While our parents no doubt had their shares of worries and pain, we were ignorant. We squabbled as all children do, we disobeyed as children do, and felt, at times, that life was not fair. Yet we had an abundance of which we were not aware.
I go back home sometimes in my mind. I hear the sounds, remember the faces, and wish I could hear their voices again. No matter where I go, those scenes call me home, where first I learned what it meant to belong, to be loved, and to enjoy family and fun. I go back home, where first I experienced nature and comradery and the best homemade chocolate milk in the world.
Click on the links below to hear one of the most poignant songs of my childhood. There are more verses than we sang, and the melody is not quite the same, but it is the closest I can find to our evening song. It is called A Call to Prayer.
By Koine: The last verses are not familiar to me, and the tune is a little different in several places.