Then when August started to disappear
We wondered what the future held in store....
The Missus and I were in the Target store in Bridgewater on Sunday afternoon shopping for what I have absolutely no recollection whatsoever. The store was awash in youngsters - a lot of whom were accompanied by their mothers but some of whom were either flying solo or with one of more friends of apparently the same age - gearing up to head on off to college. I was blown away by some of the "stuff" they were buying, in terms of furniture, electronic equipment and small appliances. My brain flashed back to my freshman year at CU. I arrived in Boulder with one suitcase of clothing. Jill/Joe drove cross-country to start what was their third year and carried with them - for me - a footlocker in which the remainder of my clothes made the great migration West. I had no "personal belongings" to bring. No furniture. No small appliances. Most assuredly, no electronic equipment.
It seems to me that it was not simply a lifetime ago that I matriculated off to CU, which it certainly was, but that it was a lifetime ago that Suzanne and Rob made their respective treks as well. Amazing to me the speed with which time moves. And once it is gone, it is gone forever. You hope that you break even in the never-ending trade of moment for memory. Even is the best you can hope for - or at least it seems that way to me. An eyeblink ago the older of my two was packing up to move into her freshman dorm at Seton Hall followed twelve months later by her brother's Manhattan invasion. This autumn Margaret and I are making plans to visit each of them in their homes, both of which are roughly three-quarters of a continent away from our own.
Today is the first day of the second half of summer's final month. As a kid I dreaded the latter half of August. Summer was already over. Once you could measure summer vacation in days instead of weeks or months, you were engaging in nothing other than self-delusion. I never quite understood the enthusiasm some of my classmates had for the first day of school. I suppose if it had been both the first AND LAST day then I would have enjoyed it substantially more. Or perhaps even the first in a series of two or three might not have been too awful. But the fact that it was the first one behind which close to one hundred and sixty-plus reinforcements stood ready to follow it told me all I needed to know about its sinister intentions.
Yet while I dreaded the first day of school in early September, August's second half was not without its charms when I was in high school. Summer two-a-day practices started for soccer at some point in mid-August. In addition to those of us roasting for eight hours a day on the soccer field, the football team and the girl's field hockey team were also on campus every day preparing for the season. It was as if you got to spend all day hanging out and playing sports with your friends without having to worry at all about the "class" part of school. It was a glimpse at what life must be like for Division I athletes at an institution of higher learning such as Florida State. All play and no work made Adam a damn happy boy.
If memory serves me correctly, our soccer two-a-days featured an extraordinary amount of running, so much so that Coach Freeman used to give us either ninety minutes or two hours off between the morning's practice and the afternoon session, during which we scrimmaged daily. While I have not had occasion to travel up Inman Avenue in that direction in too many years to count, once upon a lifetime ago I used to make a regular pilgrimage in the direction of "The Deli Station". We used to walk there at lunch to grab subs, sodas and whatever the hell we were going to ingest for lunch. I am certain that at least on occasion other people made the trek with us but I tend to remember Cesar, Jerry Cas, Schiff and I as being the Station's most faithful customers. Other than a daily bout of indigestion, our loyalty brought with it scant little reward.
I was no better at freezing time then than I am now. The more things change, the more things stay the same I suppose. It turns out that there really is nothing at all dastardly about these final two weeks of August. They are simply doing what they are supposed to do, performing the task to which they have been assigned. They cannot thwart September's entry onto the stage any more competently than can I. So why bother to try?
I think I will just order myself an Italian sub with extra oil and vinegar and await its arrival.