We are summer soldiers (though not in the way Payne meant the phrase).
Already in Memphis every day tops 90. The tomatoes, once so eager to set fruit, have begun slowing to conserve energy because of the heat.
The rains have stopped coming regularly and the rain barrel is empty. At early and late hours we carry 5 gallon buckets of water to dry, wilting plants. All the while, the irony exists that parched soil devastates gardens while weeds thrive.
The bugs have appeared. Mites, cucumber beetles, and other unidentified critters munch on leaves and suck the blood from our squash and okra. Under cover of darkness we don our headlamps and pick parasites from our precious cucumbers, while human parasites – mosquitoes – drain the lifeblood from us.
This is the time that separates the true summer soldiers from the sunshine patriots, those who are are in love with good food, from those in love with the idea of good food.
March on, soldiers, heads held high. Victory is sweet.
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