I think I was born in the wrong century. I think life should be lived at a slower pace. I always try to take the time to enjoy a beautiful sunrise or sunset. I love to sit and watch the birds as they dart here and there grabbing all the insects they can, or the bumble bees busily gathering nectar from the basil plants that are so prevalent in my yard. I remember summer days on my great grandparents farm in the Ozarks that would last an eternity. Time seemed to go so slowly as a child. I remember sitting in the porch swing, listening to the cows talk to one another in the field as they grazed and watching the sun shine through the clouds in long gold columns that would explode into golden stalks of wheat in the field across the lane. I remember lying in the grass looking up at the clouds and seeing viking ships sail across the sky, and then turn into a host of angels riding in chariots. I remember making ice cream in a manual ice cream maker. Taking turns turning the crank until it felt like my arm was going to fall off. I remember getting water from the well that was so cold it would give you brain freeze. I remember sitting on the porch with my cousins, brother and sister, mom and dad, aunts, uncles, grandma, and her friend that we called Aunt Isabelle, even though she wasn't really a relative. Each of us had a sheet of newspaper in our lap with a sack of green beans to snap. How satisfying it was to hear those beans S-N-A-P so crisply and watch as your sack filled up until you had to empty it into a big pan on the kitchen table. I remember having contests to see who could finish their sack of beans first. I remember going outside after supper dishes were done (we all had to help wash dishes and clean up the kitchen after a meal) and catching fireflies by the dozens, and then creeping back up on the porch and sitting next to my mother while all the grownups talked the night away. I remember being so tired my dad would have to carry me to bed, and my mother would help me into my pajamas, and wash my face and hands and feet with a washcloth, and say, "Your too tired for a bath tonight, so we'll just give you a lick and a promise." And in the morning waking up to the smell of bacon and coffee that would make it's way upstairs and tickle my nose until I couldn't stand to stay in bed another second! I remember running downstairs to breakfast and not being able to wait for the day to start because Uncle Paul had promised that I could go down to the barn with him to see the mother cat with her new litter of kittens. And the day would be gone, and mom would be washing my face and hands and feet again. Each day ran into the other with an effortless ease that can only come from childhood and that feeling that the summer would never end. Those days are long gone, and the cares and responsibilities of being an adult have made my days go by in a rush--here and gone before I turn around. The only time that I feel I can slow down is in my garden. And that is why I have this old parking meter in my backyard. It pleases me when the morning glories grab hold of it and wrap their tendrils around it, almost covering it. but I move the vines to make sure I can see the red flag that is always warning me: TIME EXPIRED! I need to be reminded to stop, slow down. Let the world go for awhile, because my granddaughters are the ones running through the garden looking for bugs and flowers and playing so hard they have to be carried to bed thinking that summer will never end. I don't want to be so caught up in the cares of this world that I don't watch as they discover just how wonderful life can be when you slow down and watch an ant busily scurrying along some invisible path that only it can sense, or watch a bee so fat and heavy with pollen, that you hold your breath to see if it does make lift-off.