Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Summer and the speckled bowl

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.
The pretzels were mostly for my brother, they forced him to slow down, chew, breathe – if pressed he could swallow a whole grape or carrot and keep running wild like little boys do – pretzels weighed him down; did I mention we called him Mad Dog? My sister, the youngest, rarely reached the RSB before Mad Dog demolished its contents.
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.

1 comment:

Judy henderson said...

I have a dozen different red speckled bowls tucked away in my memory. None are actually bowls - but each prompts a sweet recollection, and sweet recollections are everything! Lovely story.