Summer brought the sound of firecrackers, the smell of rain on mown grass, and the inevitable sting of a careless step. Mama was always there to rub a paste of Baking Soda and water on the swollen toe, heel, or arch. Sitting with my foot propped up on a pillow, I would sneak a taste of the salty goo.
Autumn meant a new pair of shoes and less lectures on the dangers of “runnin' round the yard barefoot.” You needed thick soles to make it past the crisp oak leaves and prickly gumballs, all the way down the gravel driveway to wait for the bus.
It was nothing like the summer garden after it rained for three days straight. The dusty trails between rows of watermelon, okra, and green beans were transformed into slicks of perfect mud. While Mama worked tending her plants, my sister and I spent hours feeling the mud slide between our toes, pressing down until we couldn’t see our feet, pulling up with a smack, leaving little brown puddles in our wake.