“Summertime and the livin’ is easy.”

I’m thinking that the summer of 2020, might be described like this: “Summertime and livin’ is easy?” It’s all in the punctuation.

Proper grammar is a real struggle these days with so much texting and social media.

I had a friend text me the other day about all that was going on in life and they followed the text up with “SMH.” I texted back and said, “what the heck is ‘SMH’”? They replied, “Shaking my head. Don’t you stay up to date on this stuff?” LOL! (that’s “laughing out loud” for those of you who aren’t up to speed-like me).

I remember my favorite thing to do in English class was diagramming sentences. The longer the sentence, the better I liked it. Shout out to English teachers everywhere: Don’t give up! Keep teaching the basics. Your students will look back one day and appreciate it......and you!

“In writing, punctuation plays the role of body language. It helps readers hear the way you want to be heard.” Russell Baker

Have you ever wondered the difference between jelly, jam and preserves? In jelly, the fruit comes in the form of fruit juice. Jelly has the smoothest consistency and is usually clear. In jam, the fruit comes in the form of fruit pulp or crushed fruit. This makes jam less stiff than jelly. In preserves, the fruit comes in the form of chunks in a gel or syrup. Preserves will have more fruit in them.

My grandmother (Mongoes) used to make two kinds of preserves- watermelon rind and fig.

I wasn’t a big fan of the watermelon rind because I don’t like watermelon.

Yes, I know......I’m a southern gal who doesn’t like watermelon.

Sorry. Anyway, I loved her fig preserves. I think the thing I loved about them was the fact that the figs would take on any flavor you would like. She had a huge fig tree behind her house and figs were always in plentiful supply.

We would pick them and then she would ask, “So, what kind of preserves do you want? Grape? Strawberry”? We could flavor the figs to whatever taste we wanted. It was great. Figs, sugar and whatever flavor jello you wanted and voila! Best preserves ever!

My grandmother and her sister, Bess, were two of the sweetest women you could ever hope to meet. As they both got older, their hearing aged as well. I remember taking the two of them to a Sunday School party one time and a lady came up and was talking to Mongoes about this, that and the other. They were talking about food and cooking and she asked my grandmother “So, Alma, do you like fish?” My grandmother replied “Oh yes! I have a whole tree full growing in my back yard.” I jumped in: “FISH, Mongoes! She said FISH not FIGS!”

You will find that I reminisce a lot about the times growing up.

They were simple times. They were happy times.

Life today is not as simple but we can still find time to pay attention to the little things in life and take every opportunity to make memories!

I will close for now because I all of a sudden have a hankerin’ to go find a fig tree! Grape? Strawberry?

As in life, the possibilities are endless.

— Dawn Dillard is a proud East Texas gal who loves all things southern especially cooking, music and family. She can be reached via email at DLDplays88@aol.com.