And It Was Summer

Last night, I was helping Kiddo with his homework – which is often a harrowing experience. Ok, well, not harrowing but often stressful, exhausting, frustrating and at times, just plain time consuming. Ten year old boys are not known for sitting still and focusing and just loving the whole endeavor.

But, last night was a mama’s dream – we worked on vocabulary (this mom just so happens to love words), language arts (never end a sentence with a preposition) and some literature (reading? Ok!).

He has a test today on this week’s story in literature so I had him re-read quietly and then tell me the story from his understanding, and then I read the story. We talked about the characters, motivations, themes, what-do-you-thinks and more. His comprehension is so much better than mine ever was at that age and I was impressed with his ability to retell the story to me – it all matched up when I read it for myself.

As I had the book in hand, and read the story, it was only then that I realized it was from Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury; an excerpt of his ‘priceless distillation of all that is eternal about boyhood and summer‘ as a young boy tries to describe the magic of a new pair of tennis shoes to to his father.


This passage just sunk in with me as we are on the cusp of change from summer into fall…

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“…It was because they felt the way it feels every summer when you take off your shoes for the first time and run in the grass. They felt like it feels sticking your feet out of the hot covers in wintertime to let the cold wind from the open window blow on them suddenly and you let them stay out a long time until you pull them back in under the covers again to feel them, like packed snow. The tennis shoes felt like it always feels the first time every year wading in the slow waters of the creek and seeing your feet below, half an inch further down-stream, with refraction, than the real part of you above water. 

“Dad,” said Douglas, “it’s hard to explain.”

Somehow the people who made tennis shoes knew what boys needed and wanted. They put marshmallows and coiled spring in the soles and they wove the rest out of grasses bleached and fired in the wilderness. Somewhere deep in the soft loam of the shoes the thin hard sinews of the buck deer were hidden. The people that made the shoes must have watched a lot of winds blow the trees and a lot of rivers going down to the lakes. Whatever it was, it was in the shoes, and it was summer…” 


I was asked a great question the other day about September (thank you DK) and in response, it came to me that September ushers in colder climes, harsher times, more to do – and I asked if perhaps it is possible that September is one of the most marked months in terms of transitions from one season to the next?

Ahhh, and it was summer; I give it up so reluctantly.

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16 thoughts on “And It Was Summer

  1. Lovely that you help your son with a passion for the written word. It will flow through him for sure. My daughter astounds me with the stuff she writes at the age of eleven and I encourage her to explore her mind when she writes. Love this post Bonnie.

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  2. The amazing thoughts that are catalyzed by the kiddo..The evocative words of Bradbury’s – what new tennis shoes represent to a boy – or a girl perhaps – the magic woven into the fiber. Perhaps there is magic woven into the fibers that weave one season to the next – for if it were not for the requirements of September, such gorgeous posts would never have come to be. xox

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    • I love what you did here- all of it. If it were not for the requirements of September, perhaps we would not hold what precedes it with such appreciation. xox

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  3. it hit finally, didn’t it? Ready or not. Love that you work with kiddo so closely on homework. What a lucky guy he is! Here’s to a good school year for kids and parents everywhere.

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    • It is finally hitting, yes. Soccer season began today also – I could feel just the hint of crisp in the air as we headed out to an early game. Homework is a multitude of things – not always good. That night was good. I wish they were all like that!

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    • Hmmm, wonder who that could be!?! I think when he’s 27, summers will still fly by too fast – it always does when we’re having fun! 🙂

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  4. I give it up very reluctantly – summer is my favourite season and I am sad to see it go. When I was a kid, I spent most of summer barefoot. It took me about a week for my feet to toughen up so that they didn’t bleed or burn on the hot pavement! Ahhh barefoot in the grass, is anything better?
    Diana xo

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    • Barefoot. Flip flops – I am with you, a summer girl through and through. We can hold on to the days that remain and then start looking forward to the next one! xo

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  5. I love this post BonBon. Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine is one of my favorites, and I too read it again when my boys were ‘of an age’. Your B is such a special guy…surprises me not that he ‘got it’ when he read the book. I am smiling ear to ear lately, when I read your words, and that alone does my heart loads and loads of good! Enjoy what is left of the good old summer time, whether school’s in session or not…take the most out of what’s left. xoxoxo

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    • I somehow have missed DW by Bradbury all these years (??), but just today the copy I ordered arrived – now I can read and savor the rest of it. I love your comment – thank you SO much for that! And yes, wringing out the last bits! xoxo

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