Summer Lessons Learned the Hard Way

by Linda Yezak

Back when my hometown of Bryan, Texas, was a thriving metropolis of thirty thousand or so, back when I was in my early teens, my family would drive all the way to Collins, Georgia, population fiftyish, including pets and cattle, to visit with my dad’s side of the family.

These were the years when I had become aware of the things around me, conscious of life beyond the desire to sleep, eat, and play. So I was aware, for instance, that Bryan had several grocery stores to choose from, and Collins citizens—well, they had to go to a nearby town, smaller than Bryan and not near as pretty, but it was where folks bought their groceries. It was the same town they ran to when they wanted something to do, like sit at the malt shop and watch the only traffic light for miles blink. Hot town Saturday night.

These, among other long-lost reasons, gave me the impression that my cousin—who didn’t even live in town—must’ve been “backward.”

I can look back now and wonder just where on God’s green earth I got the gall to spew some of the silliness that came forth from my freshly-painted lips. I say “freshly painted,” because this was right around the time I began my road to sophistication, and the liberal application of too-dark lipstick and vivid blue eye shadow were mandatory for the journey.

And, by the way, Cousin dear, you’re a year older than me. Aren’t you wearing makeup yet?

She responded that Georgia summers—even as early as when we had visited—were just too hot to bother with makeup unless it was for special occasions.

“Well, in Texas, we have air conditioners. You know what those are, don’t you?”

She glared.

Later, she helped my aunt make tea. Steep tea bags in boiling hot water. Stir in the sugar till it dissolves. Pour over ice in beveled, quilt-pattern glasses. Very similar to the jelly glasses we had back home.

I rattled the ice in mine and with an air of magnanimity, chose not to mention that our glasses like these came with strawberry preserves. I tried the tea. It tasted different, which could be for only one reason: “We don’t use sugar. We use saccharin. You know what that is, don’t you?”

This time, my aunt glared with her.

After supper, my cousin grabbed the broom and swept out the kitchen and dining room. I took pity on her then. Bless her heart. All that hard labor. “We have a vacuum cleaner to do that. You know what that is, don’t you?”

Surprisingly, there must’ve been enough times tossed in with all this foolishness when I wasn’t being a complete jerk. My cousin invited me to join her on a walk.

We strolled the red clay roads in the steamy late afternoon, planted fields to our right, cattle and the hog pens to our left, and chatted about what teenage girls chat about. We probably even thrust out our budding chests and bragged on bra sizes, and who got whose first. (It burned me how much longer she’d been wearing hers!)

Before long, I saw a tree with a limb full of fruit hanging over a fence and just within reach. I jogged up to the tree to get a closer look at the fruit. “Well, would you look at that! Can you eat these?”

Unripe persimmon on tree in the season & fresh green leaves.

“Sure,” she said. “They’re best green.”

I took a bite—and puckered my painted lips so tight I could see them without a downward glance.

“It’s a persimmon tree, ” she said. “You know what that is, don’t you?”

Click to Tweet: Summer Lessons Learned the Hard Way via @InspiredPrompt – a short stop on a blog tour for @LindaYezak & Ride to the Altar, Circle Bar Ranch, Book 3 #summerfun #giveaway #NewRelease

Linda W. Yezak holds a BA in English, a graduate certificate in Paralegal Studies, and a bucket list as long as her arm. Among the things on the list is owning a stable full of horses, and since that’s not likely to happen any time soon, she tries to include horses in each of her novels. Until the day she can retire with her husband to their land in Central Texas and ride to her heart’s content, she’ll continue with her writing and freelance editing careers.

Ride to the Altar – Book 3, Circle Bar Ranch Series

Cattle are dying on the ranch–and not of natural causes. The financial loss to the Circle Bar has first-year owner Patricia Talbert questioning her every move. But to add to her stress, her father demands she return to New York and make amends with her mother. The depth of her resentment runs deeper than she knew, and the confrontation only widens the mother-daughter gap.

While she’s away, Talon Carlson discovers the reason behind the attack on the ranch, and it sends him on an emotional tailspin. How can he remain true to Patricia when his first love still plagues his mind from the grave?

As the gap grows wide and the attacks increase, both Patricia and Talon are stretched to the limit.

How many hurdles must they jump in their Ride to the Altar?

Readers! Linda is offering a giveaway package during her blog tour. When the two-week tour is over, all those who commented throughout the tour will be eligible for the drawing for the prize. This prize package includes a signed print version of the series, a 16-ounce Christian cowboy mug, a horseshoe picture frame, a Ph. 4:13 stretch bracelet, a cute set of magnetic page markers, and a Texas Rubiks cube.

So, leave us a comment, ask Linda a question, or share your own persimmon tale, and you’ll gain an entry to the contest.

Next up on Ride to the Altar’s blog tour:

Cindy Huff’s:

35 thoughts on “Summer Lessons Learned the Hard Way

  1. Awesome post and great giveaway! This sounds like an amazing read that I will definitely enjoy.

  2. We’re always happy to have you as our guest, Linda! Best wishes for your book release & blog tour!

  3. Our cousins put up with so much out of us when we are young! But, we’re kin, so they have to, right? Love this post. Would love to be the winner of your prize package, too! Thanks for the opportunity.

  4. Great story, Linda. I hope you and your cousin got past your youthful selves. I can remember my “city” cousin coming to visit when we were kids. She didn’t have any attitude that I could tell. I hope not because she became a country cousin herself in her early teens.

  5. I enjoyed reading your fun memories and hard lessons that you learned. Looking back at how “childish” we were, makes me thankful to be changed day by day to be more like Him. I have not yet read Linda’s books, but look forward to it.

  6. I had to laugh about the persimmons. That sounds like something my friends would have done to me when I was a little girl. Linda, your message brought back special childhood memories. Thank you. I am sitting here with a big smile on my face.

  7. Oh my, yes!!! This brings back memories!!! My sisters and I used to have contests with the girls next door to see who could eat a green persimmon without making a face or puckering up…which we quickly learned was impossible. Thanks for triggering fun memories!!! I love your books!!! Ride to the Altar is next up in my reading pile…

  8. Oh wow! I chuckled over your “teenage girl” attitude! I’ve never eaten, nor can I recall even seeing a persimmon…NO, I don’t know what that is! 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  9. Persimmons? Don’t even know what that is, I guess your cousin thought she’d get back at you.

  10. Wow, what memories! I recall one Sunday afternoon when I was about five, when my favorite cousin, John David, climbed the persimmon tree in the lane near our house. “Here’s a really good one,” he called out, sending a perfect specimen hurtling to the ground at my feet. Trusting him completely, I bit in with relish. Couldn’t talk for about five minutes, and he laughed the whole time. That broke my trust in him, and when he later tried to teach me to roller skate at the local rink, I wasn’t having any of it! Never did learn to skate…

  11. I’ve never had a persimmon nor any country cousins. Your stories are funny. Teenagers are something else!

  12. Doesn’t take long to get all puckered from a green persimmon!

    So glad you’ve enjoyed the series. Hope you like Ride to the Altar too!.Thanks for having it in your reading pile!

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