Blue skies hang over the blue water of Otsego Lake in Cooperstown, N.Y.
It’s nearly the end of August and the Summer of 2009 is drawing to a close. While Labor Day is traditionally the season’s finale, the reopening of local schools, move-in days at colleges and the end of such activities as movies in the park are a better indication that life is heading into autumn.
This time of year has always held a bittersweet quality for me. While the weather remains ideal for another month or so, and even improves during years of steamy summers, it’s obvious that change is on the way.
That difference is evident more in the people than the climate. During the summer, the normal stresses of everyday life seem to ease considerably and folks are much more pleasant than while fighting a bitterly cold winter. Vacations break up the monotony of the work or school year, and summer evenings are especially magical, making those experiencing them happy to be alive. Few things illustrate that better than Woody Allen’s A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy, a light but meaningful tale of a turn-of-the-20th-century weekend.
While I’ve certainly relished summers as an adult, they meant even more when I was much, much younger. Our days were spent playing Wiffle ball, taking bike rides and manning iced tea stands to make a little spare change.
A young girl enjoys a fine
day in Congress Park in
Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
In the evenings, we often played flashlight tag and had camp outs in the back yard. During one of our encampments, we took a 2 a.m. stroll a couple of blocks up to a gas station to get bottles of pop. While we were heading back, one of our sleepy Ohio town’s police officers saw us, got out of his car and tried to apprehend us for being out so late.
The scene suddenly turned into The Great Escape as we scattered in all directions. I ended up running my fastest time ever before diving behind some bushes. I rolled against them to keep from being seen just as I heard him walking past my position. The cop eventually gave up and we were home free!
Of course, those carefree days came to an end each year, and, just like this year, I felt sorry to see them end. Then, it wasn’t so much that I hated school, and now it isn’t so much that I dread the fact that fall quickly turns into the usual gloomy Western Pennsylvania winter.
It’s just that I love summer and all that goes with it. I hope yours was something to remember as well.
Each year, Pittsburgh’s Schenley Park is the scene of
my favorite summer event: the Vintage Grand Prix.