Ice cream trucks, lightning bugs, the smell of Coppertone; all sights and sounds capable of spontaneously triggering pleasant memories of childhood summers long gone by. For me, summers always began with one clear, unmistakable sign - the Red Speckled Bowl.
A bowl? Yes, but not just any bowl - a priceless family heirloom. The Red Speckled Bowl (RSB for short) has a history, all starting with my late grandmother, Jane.
After the last day of school, we packed up and headed off to my grandparent’s house for a swim. When we arrived, there it would be, center stage on the patio table, (insert Halleluiah Chorus here) – the Red Speckled Bowl! That beautiful lead-based-red-and-white-Formica sign of summer’s official start!
Grandma Jane, much like her beloved eldest granddaughter, was a fierce creature of habit. RSB snacks never deviated, consisting of three choices; pretzels, grapes or carrot sticks. During my ‘chunky’ pre-teen years, there were a lot of carrot sticks in the RSB. For added fun, Grandma Jane often challenged me to dive down and retrieve sunken leaves from the bottom of the pool, (aka – secret exercise and child labor law violation) I got a nickel for each leaf. I swear one summer I got the bends at the $0.20 mark.
As we aged, the bowl became a running joke – appearing at random family gatherings; weddings, anniversary parties– even funerals; each time bringing smiles. My advice today - find your Red Speckled Bowl, and fill it with more memories than carrots.