Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2018 - 10
MILL CREEK STORIES
BY MOLLY DUGGER BRENNAN
THE RANSOM OF
A dedication to books doesn't
deserve such a fate for a kid.
Summer, summer, summer, a
word so sweet and full of potential. When I was a child,
the only thing that could make
me more excited than summer
was Christmas. If summer school vacation had come bearing gifts, there
would have been no contest.
What was so great about summer? Shorts and flip-flops, for one.
My school had a dress code that required girls to wear dresses or skirts.
As a normal country girl, that just
did not work for me. What kind of
tree climbing or cart wheeling could
one do in a silly skirt? Also, dresses
and skirts almost never had pockets.
I need my pockets. I had some important stuff to haul around. I had
a whole nutmeg my grandmother
gave me for luck. I had pretty pebbles I had found on walks. I always
had a roll of Butter Rum Lifesavers.
Shorts were the best invention ever.
They were cool, easy, and they always had pockets. So sensible. To
this day, my fashion sense can best
be described as "comfort first."
What else did I love about summer? There was a huge honeysuckle
vine that had taken over a forsythia
bush right under my bedroom window. All summer long, I fell asleep
to the lush sweetness of honeysuckle
adventures I had
and all of it took
place sitting on
the front porch. I
traveled all over
the globe and did
it without leaving
blossoms. The scent of honeysuckle
relaxes me still.
Don't forget berries. I adore
blackberries and raspberries, but my
grandmother had a decent stand of
gooseberries that had a lovely, lipsmacking tartness. Of course, everyone planted strawberries each year.
So much strawberry shortcake, and
homemade strawberry ice cream,
and that's not counting the buckets
of strawberries that were made into
jam for the winter.
But we haven't discussed my fa-
vorite thing about summer. Most
definitely it was the hours and hours
I spent reading. Oh, the adventures I
had every summer and all of it took
place sitting on the front porch, my
back resting against the porch column, bees buzzing nearby in the
spirea bushes. I traveled all over the
globe and did it without leaving my
I was lucky enough to have several adults in my life who fed me
books. I remember each and every
one of them, showing up to visit
with Mama and bearing a paper
sack of books for me. I will always be
grateful to the people who took the
time to make my world a little bigger
and a little brighter, just by giving
me secondhand books. Whenever
I spotted a paper grocery bag with
the name, "Ukrop's" printed on it,
I would get excited. I guess summer
did come with gifts.
Carolyn Keene's Nancy Drew was
a favorite series, then I found Rudyard
Kipling and explored India through
his words. I toured Kansas and Oz
with every book L. Frank Baum
penned. Roald Dahl and Judy Blume
were my best friends. I thought Agatha Christie was the cleverest writer
ever. The turns and twists at the end
that I never saw coming. Sir Arthur