The sun tea sat in its glass pitcher on the edge of the deck, miraculously turning to its dark brown hue, without the presence of the sun. No one drank a drop of that elixir; favoring hot chocolate with cinnamon sticks instead.
The air was cold. The sky was a dark gloomy gray. We sat on the dock with sweatshirts wrapped around us, and we said things like, “I’d prefer this over 92 degree humidity.” Sunshine would have made a nice addition. Thankfully, the rain held off. The evidence that the gray sky dampened our spirits was found in the pile of potato sacks, still thrown in a heap in the garage – no one felt like childhood games.
So, we cooked ourselves right out of the heaviness. Our goal seemed to be “how dirty can we get the kitchen?” and “how many dishes can we dirty?” We were unstoppable. In addition to the hot chocolate, we found a scratch recipe for white cake mix and made the traditional sheet cake, with berries topped to make a flag. We even sent someone all the way to the dreaded Wal Mart to find us red strawberries for the flag. We picked berries and made a blackberry pie, and fired the grill to cook pork loin stuffed with sundried tomato pesto, (pesto courtesy of the garden) and chicken drumsticks marinated in soy sauce for the kids.
Quietly, I missed some of our lake friends who still haven’t been able to make it here to the lake so far this summer. In her honor, I pulled out the can of dried breadcrumbs she left in my kitchen last summer, when she used them to top the fried zucchini with Parmesan cheese she fried in my kitchen. Her last meal here. I pulled the baby zucchini from my own garden, and topped with the breadcrumbs. We washed many dishes, I made many spills all over the counter, and swept, and wiped all day long. The hand-held immersion blender, I found, will splatter powdered sugar, butter and milk all over your kitchen when you try to make icing. Still, it worked in a pinch. And we laughed.
We laughed at our cooking disasters; we started conversations that got dropped and picked up by someone else, and soon those two realized they were talking about two entirely different things, while all the kids came up to tattle on the other ones all day long. We laughed. Maybe it was the hot chocolate.
Later, we waved our flags in the boat parade, and finally, the sun made its appearance, just as the sun was setting.
I couldn’t help but think how this would be the fourth that creates the memories; the dark one that dampened our spirits, yet would shine in our memories the longest and the brightest. How long would it be before it will be 92 degrees and hot and humid on the fourth, and we will say, “remember when it was so miserably windy and cold?”