My mind goes immediately to feet when I think of summer. When you start walking around barefoot or put on sandals, summer is here.
To get to the mailbox to mail a letter for my mom, I had to cross Lincoln Avenue. Now this was no problem during the cooler months when I was shod in my Keds, but barefoot in summer it was a challenge. The concrete sidewalk was cool enough to walk on, but the black asphalt road burned. The solution was to walk on the white-painted crosswalk lines, not between them. They felt smooth and cool under my bare feet, even cooler than the sidewalk.
If I wasn’t barefoot, I was slapping along in thongs. My cousins called them zories, and nowadays they are called flip-flops. (Thongs are something else:). Mom bought us a new pair of zories at the start of summer each year, usually one or more sizes bigger than the year before. The new ones felt funny for the first week or so until they got stretched, squished, and worn, in just the right places to fit your feet perfectly.
My brother discovered that the center thong of the sandal would collect tiny rocks, sticks, and shells in the space where the rubber passed through the sole, and if he pushed the thong’s cap through the sole, he could clean out the debris into a little pile. When we were bored in the back seat of the car or in front of the TV, we would empty out our zories to see who had the bigger pile of gravel and twigs. The things kids will find to amuse themselves.