Here in the South, everyone is getting ready to close out summer…in August! As a transplant from the Northeast, I find this preposterous! Summer clearly does not end until the day after Labor Day. Technically, according to Google, the official last day of summer is September 23rd. The kids are going to be pretty mad when they hear about this.
You see, back in the Northeast, school does not end until late June. That gives us all of July and August to swim, play, barbecue, and sweat during what we call the lazy, hazy days of summer. Then, the cool crisp air starts to creep in, surprisingly almost right around September 1st and before you know it the last barbecue takes place on Labor Day weekend. You still have a couple of days to kick around and then school starts, probably on a Thursday. This is normal for me. Seeing local Facebook posts about saying goodbye to summer in August makes zero sense. My biological Northeastern clock is obviously not on the same page with the southeast. I mean, we get to hang onto daylight savings time until November 3rd, why not hang onto summer that long? We can do this in the South since it can be unseasonably warm throughout October and November. So, I say, don’t pack up the sunscreen and swimsuits just yet.
I remember growing up when that last day of school kicked in, September seemed so far away. We would spend hours at our local town pool, sunning ourselves, watching the boys walk around with their boom boxes (yes, I am that old) and sharing greasy French fries among us. We would come home sunburned and waterlogged, take a shower, and then look in the mirror to see how much sun we actually got because only after a shower could you truly tell how sunburned you really were. My parents would be out on our deck barbecuing hamburgers and hot dogs and we would all eat outside while shooing the flies away from the potato salad.
After dinner, it was still light enough out to play a couple of rounds of Uno on the front stoop while listening to our favorite cassette tapes (once again, I am old). Then, just as dusk started to settle in we would grab our jars, poke holes in the lid and run around the backyard trying to catch fireflies. Ah, the essence of summer in the 1980s. There was nothing like it in the Northeast and I guess that’s because back then we actually had seasons. You could clearly distinguish between winter, spring, summer, and fall. As the earth’s climate has changed (believe me, it has) it’s not as easy to relish in each season equally. Down in the South for me, it’s particularly hard as the season changes are not as distinct as they were back home.
Still in all, I, for one, am not anywhere near ready to say goodbye to summer. So, while everyone else is packing it in, you can find me trying to catch fireflies in a jar.