It's late summer around these parts. Technically, it's right on the edge of July leaving and August arriving, but school starts back next week so that means that summer is officially over as we know it for the children in our county. We have much summer left if you consider the hot temperatures, bounty from the garden, and the grass-cutting days ahead. It makes me sad each year when the kids go back to school. Even though I no longer have children who are in school, I do have grandchildren so I feel for them. No more days of just hanging out with no threat of homework hovering over you like an late afternoon thunderhead, no more days of sleeping in and eating breakfast at 11:00 in front of the TV, or heading to the community pool for a day of cooling off. Nothing says summer like going to the pool. And absolutely no more late nights with movie and popcorn in your p.j.'s. It's back to the grindstone next week and I hate it -- hate it -- that summer vacations are now so much shorter than when I was in school.
When I was in elementary school (a very long time ago), it seemed as though the days of summer dragged on forever and, when it was finally time to go back to school, I was actually ready to return to the rigors of the classroom. If I remember correctly, we never went back before Labor Day and, by the time summer ended for me and my sis, we were beginning to get bored with just hanging around the house and boredom led to arguing and fighting with my little brother so I'm sure my mom was more than ready for us to return to school! Plus, I loved school-clothes shopping and I loved school-supply shopping even more. The smell of No. 2 pencils gave me a high, and choosing and loading up my book satchel (yes, that's what they were called in those days) gave me a bad case of the butterflies and made going back to school even easier. I loved running my fingers across the spiral of a brand-new notebook and the smoothness of fresh filler paper. And just in case you're wondering, a book "satchel" was a book carrier that looked a lot like a small suitcase whose handle was on the top and which stood upright. It either lay down and opened like a briefcase or unzipped over the top, revealing pouches and filing separators for organization. And, don't laugh, but most of the time we girls wore dresses to school! I will never forget one little red-and-blue plaid jumper that my mom bought me for school. To this day, the thought of that little dress still causes me to wax nostalgic, bringing a tear to my eye thinking about shopping for school clothes with my mama. And, of course, there had to be Red Goose (real) leather Mary Janes to match, with little white socks turned down at the cuffs! A new metal lunchbox with my favorite character on it complete with a thermos finished my back-to-school preparations.
Every summer in late August as the season winds down and school is back in full swing, we have a day that whispers of the fall to come. The 90+degree days give in to cooler temperatures, thick cloud cover, and the reprieve might even entertain a light drizzle throughout the day. During this time each August I have a sense of impending autumn -- you know, when the air is cool and crisp and the humidity is low? It gives me the same case of butterflies that I experienced as a child. I look forward to this short-lived interlude every August, and it never fails to appear. It's like nature reminding me that I have cooler days and a whole new season coming to look forward to, with its own gratifications to enjoy. If I have the benefit of being at home when this time occurs, it's a great day to throw open the windows and indulge in a good book. The heat inevitably returns and by the time August is nearing its end, I am more than happy to welcome the new season and feel as though I can no longer stand another 95-degree day of 95% humidity! This little intercession of a day (or several days if we're lucky) is what I call the season of "In Between..." not at all autumn yet, but not really summer either.
But no matter how close we get to the third season of the year, I am never quite ready to welcome her, and am still very much attached to summer with all her late-season pleasures abounding. Now is the time to enjoy all the lush, homegrown goodness the earth is giving up this time of year. The image below of a half-eaten peach is a fine example (albeit not too appealing with the teeth marks). This lush piece of fruit was gifted to me by a friend whose hubby picked them up in South Georgia, and it was the perfect balance of sweet and tart. The south of the state is a haven for fresh peaches, melons, corn, and all kinds of fruits and veggies this time of year. But just the other day I purchased a very unsightly but hopefully delicious cantaloupe from a local farmer who grew it in the field right across the street from their vegetable stand in my own community. Now, I don't know if it'll be as good as it smells, only time will tell, but you can't get much fresher than plucked from the ground one morning and in your kitchen that afternoon! I also have a collection of oddly shaped tomatoes from the same local farmer. Not much to look at, but the best flavor! I'd much rather have an ugly tomato that tastes good than a beautiful one with no flavor, unh-unh.
I look forward to late-summer delights yet to come. Freed-up evenings walking at the park with cool breezes...still more delectable late harvest gifts from the garden...burgers and fresh corn on the grill... But it seems to me that time is all out of order when we have to enjoy some of these late summer offerings after the kids have returned to school.
But if the kids are lucky, mom will pack their school lunch brimming with the final gifts of a late bounty, and summer can live on a little longer in their hearts (and tummies!). Tuck in a little note with a special message for them. Guranteed to bring a smile to their face and make school-starting that much more bearable...
Posted by CC
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