My favorite summer growing up was the one between my freshman and sophomore years of high school. Papaw Gary lost his job. He spent the summer trying to draw his unemployment. It was a fight but the unemployment office agreed that he was unfairly treated and by the end of summer he began to receive his unemployment.
That wasn't my favorite part. This is...
I had my wisdom teeth cut out the first week of summer break. Once I mended the fun began. Papaw painted my Nana and Papaw Cureton's house inside and out. Uncle Buddy and I got to help paint the kitchen cabinets. Papaw did odd jobs for different people to help buy groceries and the things we needed.
Every week we would spend a day or two in Greeneville, Knoxville or Morristown. We would sit in the car, play at a park or window shop while Papaw dropped off resumes and went to interviews.
My Great-Aunt Betty Jo loved to listen to the local radio station. She was really good at the trivia questions they would ask. She would call in and answer and win prizes. That summer they gave away tickets to the Dollywood Summer Concert Series. Although she could only win every 30 days, someone we knew or were related to won almost every set of tickets they gave away, every week, that summer. Not one of us ever called in. Whoever's name won would pick up the tickets or send Papaw to get them. We went to Dollywood almost every week that summer with those tickets.
We didn't get new things that summer and only necessities were purchased. I'm pretty positive that my Nana bought our back to school clothes. It was that summer that I realized just how much my Mom and Dad, your Nana and Papaw had sacrificed over the years for our family; the sacrifice for Nana to stay home with Uncle Buddy and I when we were little, the sacrifice to pay for piano lessons, doctor bills and birthday parties to name a few.
I knew we didn't have a lot of money growing up. I knew that I wasn't any different that almost of all of the other kids in my class financially, but I knew that I was different. My parents and grandparents made sure I never needed anything. Sometimes I didn't get my wants, but I always had everything I needed. That summer it all became clear. It was the happiest I had ever seen Papaw and Nana even with the financial stress and it was an awesome summer of fun and helping others.
Your Nana doesn't speak to groups of people. She was asked several times, after that summer and Papaw received a new job, to tell her story of how and why she continued to tithe, give their 10% to God. She shared how she knew that if she gave God what was His, He would bless us. Oh how the blessings came.
Nana and Papaw won't say that was their favorite summer but I bet they will say it was one of their favorites.