It Is Summertime in My Heart

My dad loved music and singing. Though I don’t remember it, Mom said that Dad was the one who would sing and rock me to sleep with a lullaby ditty that was all his own. When I was a teenager, I heard him sing it to my younger sisters. And it is one that I have sung to my babies and grandbabies.

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But no matter how much he loved music, and the nice singing voice he had, staying in the same key for an entire song was a life-long impossibility.

Baling Hay or straw

Dad loved to sing this chorus on those melting hot summer days because he said it reminded him of the chill of winter. And on those bitter, below zero days when he’d come in from the barn with a scarf wrapped around his face, off came the scarf and out of his mouth came this tune.

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And often, after winding up on the final repeat, in a key that took his voice to a near-soprano range, he’d say that Jesus made a difference in his life. Dad was the middle child of seven siblings who struggled to read (undiagnosed dyslexia), had keen observation skills, energy to burn (disaster in a classroom in the 1930’s), and an uncanny ability to add and figure numbers. He grew up “hard.”

But as a young man, Jesus became real to him, helped him persist with his dream of farming despite not obtaining a commercial loan. In his faith-walk, the loan of $5,000 for his first baler and tractor from a church member was a monument that God DID care about him.

So when I think of this song, I am reminded that my dad’s faith was a real-life struggle of overcoming, from the winter of lost-ness and despair to the summer of community and hope.

And, by the way, this song is written to modulate up a third on each of the two repeats!

It is Summertime in my Heart

By Lois C. Johnson

It is summertime, in my heart
It is summertime, in my heart
Since Jesus saved me — New Life He gave me —
Ev’n in wintertime, it’s summer in my heart
(repeat twice)

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