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by Tamara Hillman

Is it really June? Can summer finally be here? I know for some of you Northerners, it’s been a lonnnnng time comin’!

Even in “Sunny Arizona” it’s been a colder than usual winter. My trees and shrubs were burned with frostbite this year, and I think one tree is a goner! W’y, up in the high country of northern Arizona, it snowed a full inch just a week ago—and that was on top of what hadn’t melted away after heavy snows this winter!

But enough about snow and cold weather! Let’s look forward to the summer comin’ up, and reminisce about the fun we had in summers past…

It was very hot and dry where I was raised. It started out being extra warm (in the 90’s) by May, and grew to be 100 or better from June thru’ August. Our seasons were very pronounce. Each one had a beginning and an end you could count on for crops to grow, and’ movin’ cattle to high or low country. Fall was my favorite because of the beauty that covered our valley in the most fabulous colors, and the relief from summer heat. School was fun and exciting for me, so back to school was not dreaded.

My brothers and I (me being a tom-boy like all my neighborhood girlfriends—but one) looked forward to school being out in late May, decorating the graves with Mom before Memorial Day, and then being turned loose to scavenger, and run wild like the cowboys and Indians we dreamed of being. We built forts underground, fished for pollywogs, rode horses that were only half broke, and swam in the ditch daily. Yes, we had chores, but they were minor when we were in grade school, and our hearts led us to the great outdoors even on stormy days! We were frontiersmen discovering new places to roam.

We loved rhubarb, sun-warmed tomatoes, and fresh peas right off the vine in Mom’s ample garden. We only went indoors if we craved a mayonnaise and onion sandwich, or maybe peanut butter. We drank from the garden hose since it was straight from our well, and just as clean and clear as from the kitchen faucet, (not that it would have mattered if it were ditch water.) We were hardy little adventurers chipping pieces off the cow-lick for the salt our bodies needed because we’d sweat profusely as we ran the fields. Until I was twelve, I could whip any boy in the neighborhood my age, and so could my girl pals.

I had only one friend we all thought was a big sissy, Fern Johnson, our nearest neighbor down the road just a spit an’ a holler from our house. She wore dresses even in the summertime, and had long curls to her waist with ribbons in her dark hair. She played piano, and did housework and cooking since her Mom worked at the feed store they owned in town. All the yucky stuff me and my dusty, little girl-pals thought was simply atrocious!

Well, when I turned thirteen, and discovered I was a girl, and boys were kinda cute when they were scrubbed good, Fernie and I became great friends. In recent years we have started spending wonderful times together whenever they can fly down to our place, or we can drop in at theirs up north, as we plan to do this summer. Her hubby, Dick, grew up in Twisp Washington too, so we all speak the same language. Even my sweetie of thirty-eight years, (who is a Connecticut Yankee) fits right in since he met my pals in the valley when we were first dating. Who wouldn’t like down-home people who’d give ya the shirt off their back, or listen to your troubles and then help solve them when the cryin’ was done?

I’m still a little rough around the edges, but Fernie is always a lady just like my Mom—I’m not lookin’ for sympathy, but I just lost my dear, sweet mother, April 27th, and every call and card I’ve gotten since has mentioned what a lady she always was. Mom could hoe in the garden under a hot sun, and still come indoors lookin’ like a million bucks. If I was out there five minutes, I looked liked I’d been wallowin’ with the hogs, I kid you not.

Mom Planting the Garden

I still don’t mind sunburned cheeks, wind in my hair, and no makeup some of the time. Life just seems too short for all that fussin’! Now, Fern and Mom would surely disagree—they would never leave the house without bein’ all curried an’ combed. Guess my Dad’s genes were stronger than Mom’s, (sadly) because I’ve never been called a lady.

You all have a wonderful summer, and to you prim and proper girls—let your hair down, an’ get a little dirt under your fingernails. You’ll have memories to last a lifetime…

Granny Tam



Here’s one dedicated to my Mom who walks with Jesus in Paradise this very day!


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Mothers are special in so many ways—

they greet you at start of every new day.

Moms make special dinners when each day is thru’,

wash and mend clothes especially for you.

They kiss away owies, chase the boogie man away,

make sure you are warm on a cold, winter’s day.

Moms sometimes keep secrets even from Dad,

and you know you are loved—even when you are bad.

Moms teach you the bible, and how not to sin,

if you just accept Jesus, and let the Holy Spirit in.

She’ll worry and fret when you go on a date,

and set a strict curfew making sure you’re not late.

And even when grown, Moms always take care

to be a good helper in the life you then share.

She makes the best grandma, and never says no

when ask to tend children while you take in a show.

When you grow older, Mom becomes your best friend,

and you wish you could relive life with her again.

But it’s time to say “THANKS” for all that you do,

and just know in my heart, Mom, I’ll always Love You!

Tamara Hillman


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