It happens every year, the same way it has since I was young. I look up and notice that the days aren't quite as long as they used to be, and every now and then a whisper of cool air brushes against my skin, foretelling things to come. I try to ignore the signs, but they're there, niggling at my brain, growing louder and louder until they can't be ignored. By the time September rolls around, they'll be shouting at me. And it will be too loud for my ears.The younger kids go back to school this week. My teacher friends went back to work yesterday. Late bedtimes and full days of swimming are over for my little friends who have filled our swimming pool this season. As one of those little friends dried off and gathered up his stuff to go home Saturday night, he sweetly asked me, "Miss Hula, can we do this again before school starts?" And I didn't have the heart to tell him we were out of time. I handed him a homemade snow cone and told him we'd do it again soon. We'll do it again on the weekends until there is no more warm weather, and the pool has to be covered to keep out the falling leaves. Hubby and I looked at each other after our company left Saturday night and talked about how boring our weekends were going to seem this winter. We've had such a full summer, right in our backyard.
Without really planning it, we've had company almost every weekend. Aside from a planned family get together and a pool party we scheduled way back in January, everything else has been spontaneous. We told friends that we get in the pool every Saturday and that they are welcome at any time. We told them they didn't need an invitation, to just call ahead and make sure we were there. And they have. Every Friday or Saturday, I'll get a text or a call, and before you know it, Saturday has turned into a party of sorts. We don't make a big deal out of food. We simply keep the Man Cave stocked with paper supplies, sodas, beer and drinks for the kids. By now, they all make themselves at home. The kids know where their drink cooler is. They know where the pool toys are, and they know where we keep the scissors to cut open those little frozen popsicle sticks we stock in the freezer. The parents know where the towels and adult beverages are, and we all just float and swim and take it easy for hours at a time. If meal time rolls around and we get hungry, we pull some hot dogs out of the freezer and grill or we order pizza. The pizza delivery people all know to come around to the back of the house by now without us telling them when we place the order.It has been a very fun, pleasant summer with a lot of laughter and good times. We will miss it when it ends. I'll missing the swimming. I'll miss the homegrown tomatoes and the sunshine. And I'll miss the casual clothes, the bare feet and the smell of a neighborhood grill roasting something good to eat. I'll miss all of the little sights and sounds of summer. The whir of mowers, the shouts of the neighbor kids playing basketball until long after dark, the feel of the warm ground under my feet, and the laziness of long days. Iced tea in a sweating glass, the crunch of crushed ice in between my teeth and the burst of sweetness from biting into corn on the cob.
It's been a long hot summer here. Temperatures have hovered around 100 degrees for weeks, and a lot of the crops have burned up. The grass is brown, and most everyone else is looking forward to cooler weather. And while, it will be a relief to run in cooler temperatures, I will be sad to see summer go. As always, I am reluctant to turn it loose. I'm not sure why I love it so much, other than I hate cold weather. Perhaps, because it reminds me of the joy and freedom I felt during summer vacation as a kid. Whatever the reason, summer warms my soul, and it is hard for me to turn loose of the joy it brings me. We still have about a month and a half left of what I call summer weather, and we'll make the most of it. We'll squeeze as much out of the weekends as we can, and when I finally stow away my flip flops, I can say it was a blessed and beautiful season. We will do it again, my little friend. That we will. And the memories of this summer will tide me over until the season of sun and laughter rolls around again.