Fish jumped. The cotton was high. The heat was a palpable thing because no one had air conditioning back then.
The bluesy melody plays in my head as I write this, and it makes me think about all the things I loved about those long ago summers when the living did seem easy.
Since we had no air conditioning, summer evenings were spent on the porch and out in the yard. We kids chased lightning bugs, or fireflies if that’s how you know those little insects that could make a Mason jar glow like a lantern if you caught enough of them. If it wasn’t quite dark yet, most of us played baseball. We never seemed to tire of baseball.
The porch swing creaked as it swayed back and forth. The quiet voices of the adults on the porch talked about the happenings of the day, and the talk gleaned from the grapevine that always seems to wind through every small town and rural community.
The Evening Calm
Evenings were peaceful and a time to relax after a long day. I think people in today’s world lose that winding down at the end of the day. Instead of talking quietly, as a family, about the day, we seek relaxation in front of a television set, computer screen, or video game. It’s just not the same.
In fact, a lot of scientific studies have been done that say these activities interfere with sleep rather than make it easy. In a society where sleep deprivation is rampant, maybe we should change the way we unwind in the evenings?
The habit of enjoying the quiet calm of evening still lives in small towns and rural America. I see it whenever I visit my brother on his farm or talk with friends who live in the small towns near our country house. That small town environment is what I often write about in my romance novels.
In my most recent work, Heat Lightning for Summer Fire, the NY Times and USA Today bestselling romance collection, I touch on this a little. Tessa and David are secluded at a lake house in West Texas. When their WiFi goes out, a neighboring rancher offers his mobile device for David to use.
That’s what people in ranch country do. If a neighbor has a need, they’re willing to help. Later when there’s trouble at the lake house, not only does the county Sheriff show up, but also the neighboring ranchers. Farm and ranch folk are used to helping each other out.
The title for my romantic suspense novella was a no-brainer for me because the phrase heat lightning has always had a certain cachet for me. Perhaps because I remember watching it often in the night sky at summer.
I’ll be publishing Heat Lightning on June 30, apart from the box set which will be taken down in a few weeks. The story ended up being one of my favorites because the phenomenon known as heat lightning, where lightning can be seen but no thunder is heard, figures in the story.
I hope your summertime is full of good books, good times, and easy living!
Bestselling romance author Joan Reeves lives her happily ever after with her husband in the Lone Star State. Her books, available as ebooks and audiobooks, all have the underlying theme that is her motto: “It’s never too late to live happily ever after.” Readers, sign up for WordPlay, Joan’s email list/newsletter. Joan also publishes Writing Hacks, a free newsletter for writers. Find Joan at SlingWords, her blog and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.