Hammock Memories

Jun 29

The afternoon heat was scorching, and I retreated to my favorite spot: my hammock on the screen porch. I set my glass of peach tea on the table where it would be reachable, turned the ceiling fan on high and climbed in. As I allowed the fan to cool me, it occurred to me that I have lazed away a good part of my life in a hammock, somewhere.

When I was a child, we lived in a house with a forest of huge trees in the backyard. My Dad hung a hammock between two of them up the hill, out of site of the house, and that spot became my refuge. Away from the heat, out of Mom’s field of vision, safe from the teasing torment of my older brother; it was my private hideaway.

My only companion was the book I happened to be reading at the time, although sometimes our dog, Daisy, a lumbering, slobbering St. Bernard, would make her way up the hill and lie in the cool shade of the tall oaks with me. I whiled away many a summer afternoon in that green canvas hammock. Every now and again, my little sister Nancy would come up and we would lie at opposite ends, most of the time engaged with our reading, but there was the occasional foot fight to keep things interesting. We must have been really small for both of us to fit in that hammock, now that I think of it.

Over the years, as I moved around from town to town, I lived in places where I could hang a hammock and I was always reminded of that green canvas haven of my childhood. I had a string hammock that I brought with me on all of my many camping trips and that was hung before the tent went up.

When I moved into this house 20 years ago, the first thing I did was scout out two suitable trees, and found the perfect match. A tall stately Oak tree and a graceful Paulownia. I apologized to the trees as I screwed the heavy hooks in, and for many years I am sure that they felt my gratitude when I climbed in on a Sunday afternoon after a long hot week at my bakery. Sometimes I would read, others, if there was a game on, I’d listen on my little radio to Harry Kalas and Richie Ashburn call a Phillies game, watching it in my mind (and usually dozing off). Harry Kalas had a lovely soothing voice that would lull me to sleep until a home run was hit & then I’d wake to “that ball is outta here!”

The only problem with that hammock was the mosquitoes and biting deer flies. I would have to be slathered with stinky chemical repellants (there were no non-deet’s then) or wrapped in a sheet from head to foot, but for the better part of ten years, I managed. Then they came out with a mosquito net for rope hammocks…hooray!

 

As the years went by and we added a screen porch to the side of the house it seemed a logical progression to hang a hammock before anything else. I have slept many a hot summer night cocooned in that hammock and it has become my favorite spot. Now I am like a 5 yr old taking a nap at 3pm every day. I bring a cool drink and my book of the moment and allow myself to be swallowed up by the comfort of my woven hammock. The ceiling fan provides a breeze, there are no bugs, and I can lapse into my memories without a care. I truly believe that the hammock is one of man’s finest creations.

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