This is the last summer weekend of 2009, which comes as a shock, I suspect, to millions of the nation's schoolchildren who've been back to the academic grindstone for weeks now and are already looking forward to the Thanksgiving break.
Back when I was a wee slip of a lad, summers seemed to go on forever. We used to spring out of bed to better get a head start on doing absolutely nothing until late in the afternoon when, with a little luck, a marathon baseball game would break out on the dirt field up the street from the Girard's house. No one kept score and nobody cared who won or lost. Players would come and go for hours, heading home for dinner or to go shopping with Mom and then return hours later sometimes having to be on the other team.
Usually what we did, depending on how good the player returning really was might be that he would have to wait to rejoin the game until another player showed up to balance him out. Mid-inning trades were also not unknown. The games went on until the daylight was dying or, more correctly, had died and then Mr. Girard would back his car out of the carport and turn the headlights on to wash over the field so we could wrap it finally (until tomorrow when it began again).
We did this for years until someone bought the lot and built a house on it. We all hated the people who moved in to live there. And, much later, when the house burned down, I felt a twinge of guilt even though I had nothing to do with what happened-the power of wishing and its consequences, I guess.
As I got older the summers got shorter and when our Pat and Mike were smaller it was fun to watch the cycle begin again with them. We're weeks away from the 'leaf peeping' that everyone associates with New England weekends in the fall. But for me, it's already too late. I hate autumn-I can smell the scent of all things dying even before they actually do and I'm left with memories of the summer to get me through the winter into the following spring. Enjoy what you have, while you have it.