One of my greatest joys of teaching was to read aloud to my students, and one of my favorite books to read aloud was Charlotte’s Web by E.B.White. I must’ve read this book nearly thirty times in thirty-eight years, but my introduction to this story was hearing it read aloud myself.
I can still see the twenty-two year-old me in my first classroom, Spring, 1971, Spring Lake, North Carolina. Most of my students’ daddies were serving in the Air Force or Army, many were Green Berets, in Vietnam.
At the end of each day, fifth-graders all packed up and ready to leave, glaring overhead lights extinguished, I’d place the needle on the LP vinyl record from the school library, and we’d all be transported by the voice of Mr. E.B. White, his very own self.
My favorite chapter of this beloved book is called “Summer Days,” and this brings me to the point…I love summer days.
I love the early hours lightening up, and being able to sit outside in my jammies with my coffee and book as the day begins. I love all the birdsongs. I can’t get over all the different shades of green in the tree canopy. I like the smell of fresh cut grass, the sturdy stems and vibrant colors of summer flowers. I’m fascinated by the blue of the sky and the white of the clouds.
At Farmer’s Markets, I’m drawn to the activity, smells, colors of each booth, be it crafts or foods or living plants. I could spend all day at a Farmer’s Market.
I welcome the warmth of the sun on my old skin, and the rolling breeze that keeps my own personal “air conditioning” system at work. And counterpoint to that, I appreciate the ground-softening rains that help my weed pulling go more smoothly. Oh. I love orange Popsicles.
Yes. Summer days. Living them today makes me remember a fine, fine children’s classic. I gave my copy to one of my grandkids. I think it’s time for me to replace and re-read. Maybe I’ll do that outside, my book and glass of wine, on these upcoming summer evenings. I’ll revisit my old friends, Wilbur and Charlotte, as the day cools and the light sticks around a little longer.