Half Past Summer

I saw it yesterday for the first time. It’s as predictable as the pumpkin spice Cheerios appearing on your grocery shelves come September. I saw the first Back to School sales ad.

The smell of sulfur from fireworks is still lingering in the air, and we’re talking about our kiddies — whose feet bottoms are not yet summer-seasoned from going barefoot — going back into the classroom. Of course, my mother was ahead of the curve. Every year on the 5th of July, she would cheerfully remind us that summer was half over as she swept up the firework remnants. Over the years, I have given a lot of thought to why my mother would say those dreaded words. I don’t think she was eager for summer to end. On the contrary, I think she dreaded the coming of getting kids ready for school each morning as much as we dreaded going. I learned my glass-half-empty mentality from her. If you know it’s going to happen, you might as well start getting yourself mentally ready.

Even a summer-lover such as me must admit that the first half of the summer is a tad more cheerful than the last half of the summer. In May and June, you are planting your gardens, the grass is greening, the flowers are blooming, the nights cool off, and you can sleep with your windows open. Sometime around late July, the petunias start getting leggy, the grass is tinged with brown, darkness is appearing sooner every day, and the air is still and warm, requiring the constant hum of the air conditioner.

But the good news about July and August is that we often have summer visitors. It’s true this year, as Heather and Lauren and their two boys are in town for a week. And my brother Dave arrived yesterday with his daughter Brooke to spend the week. Her husband Alexx was unable to come, so this is the first separation for the newlyweds.

I intend to make the most of the weeks ahead. We have a trip planned to Vermont in August, there are some birthdays to celebrate, and, of course, there are always the late summer tomatoes and Palisade peaches to anticipate.

Last year pools were closed and restaurants were silent. The best news, of course, is that we are able to enjoy each other without masks, even if summer is half over.

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