The beginning of September, while still officially summer is meteorologically fall. I learned this recently on Facebook as I follow Channel 7 Detroit meteorologist, Dave Rexroth. Yes I know he is American, but I consider him my bud. If you think this is disloyal just ask my youngest son about my pride in all things Canadian—particularly when we watch television. I am forever pointing out to him the fact that an actor or comedian or some other famous person is Canadian. In fact, said son has threatened to have the phrase “They are Canadian, you know” engraved on my tombstone.
As always I digress in this my ode to the summer almost past. This being the first week back at school, I am reminded of that dreaded assignment we had every first day of school from second grade on. I am talking about the essay we were always expected to write about “What I Did on my Summer Vacation”. I do not know if this is still a requisite assignment, but I do remember the summer when my oldest brother got married so I had something of what I considered substance to write about.
As a kid, I did not really appreciate summer vacation and all the lovely times that I look back on with sweet nostalgia. The picnics and reunions, the bike rides and long leisurely days spent playing outside or sitting in a tree reading were taken so for granted. We expected the summer to offer nothing more than warm days, cool drinks and well….nothingness. No homework, few organized activities, lots of barbeques on the outside brick fireplace, and in my younger years, days spent in the sandbox.
As a youngster, my family went on summer day trips, most notably to Point Pelee National Park, but we never had a true family vacation where we spent time laying our heads on unfamiliar pillows. They say you do not miss what you did not have, and I find this to be very true. I did not miss family vacations away from home because we never experienced them. One summer when I was 13 I did go away to camp (at far flung Gesto) for a week—I liked it but got really homesick. Little did I know at the time that I was really only a few miles from home (I was a rather dull-witted kid.)
This year, I did not get away for a summer vacation, but I had a lot of memorable “summer moments”. I tend not to take things for granted anymore, or at the very least I take note of the good times while I am having them, as well as remembering them. I enjoyed having lunch with my Writers’ group on the patio of a local restaurant. Lunch was so long that we barely left in time for the supper crowd. I remember noshing on my favourite mushroom and shrimp pizza, listening to my friends/fellow writers read, and most importantly laughing.
There was the barbeque at our friends’ house where, after supper, we sat in their cottage (really their sun porch) and if you craned your neck ever so slightly you could see the lake. We ate wonderful food and had great conversations that solved all the world’s problems (too bad no leaders will take our collective advice). And yes, there was laughter which broke up the more sober topics of the day.
Then there was the “pool party” at another friend’s house. We sipped on sangria, ate snacks upon snacks, some swam, while I dangled my feet in the pool (as bathing suits and I parted ways almost three decades ago). Again, we solved the world’s problems. And we laughed. And laughed.
We went to a local restaurant for a friend’s 58th birthday. I ate perch, coleslaw and guiltily, French fries. But mostly I enjoyed the stories, the camaraderie, and the laughter which rang out often and lustily. (And the birthday boy picked up the bill, which was a wonderful surprise!)
These are only a few of my summer moments—but all had four things in common—friends, conversation, good food, and laughter. Every season has these moments—but summer, without the need for hats and coats and gloves, without too much planning and primping—seems to have a special flavour.
I am now ready for my favourite flavour—autumn—with all its colours, cooler sweater weather, the promise of the glow of fireplaces (or candles, if you like me, do not have a fireplace at your disposal), apple picking and pumpkin gathering. This is my time of year and I am ready to embrace it! Shine on Harvest Moon!