Farewell Summer

“What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.”
John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley: In Search of America

When I was growing up, the last day of summer was always officially Labor Day.  That’s the day the swimming pool closed and the first day of school was the Tuesday after.

Now, even though I’m married to a teacher, that schedule no longer applies.  She was back at school even before I departed on The Old Man Bucket List Road Trip (™).  

Today is officially the last day of summer.  Autumn arrives at 2:50 tomorrow morning.

Thanks to my back and/or bladder, there’s a good chance that I’ll be away to say a proper hello.

It also looks to be a rainy one.  Stay safe out there.

In the grand scheme of things, I had a pretty darn good summer.

No, I didn’t spend the days by the pool. In fact the only time I got in any outdoor water play was on July 4 at the water park. Wall to wall people in the wave pool.  Not a grand time.

I began the summer in rehearsals for Sound of the Guns at Firehouse Theatre. If you didn’t see the show, I assure you that you do regret it.  Not because of my performance. But because this was an important piece of theater and music, combined together.  It was an honor to play a small part.

In the midst of the show, my cousin and his wife flew up from Texas to take me to the Doobie Brothers concert in Portsmouth.  Ron and I had not seen each other for some fifty years, but we’ve kept in touch through the magic of Facebook.  We had a great weekend, they saw my show, we had some great meals, and the concert was phenomenal.  All of the original Doobie Brothers were there and their voices and music skills were as good, or better, than they were fifty years ago.

Much of the rest of the summer was spent in preparation.  Not only was I preparing for The Old Man Bucket

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List Road Trip (™), we were getting our son ready to spend five months in Japan for the first half of his junior year in college.

I’d like to think summer could have been more sitting on the beach sipping umbrella drinks, but that didn’t happen.  And that’s okay.  Retirement is coming and we’ll have more time for that.

Summer remains my favorite season, but I’m really becoming more fond of fall.  The changing of the leaves, pumpkins, apple cider, sweater weather, bonfires, and more.

It goes without saying that this is also Spooky Season, which leads to Turkey Season, which leads to Santa Season.

There’s no vacation for the next four months.  No grand road trips.  No sitting around anywhere, or at least not much, sipping fancy drinks.

I used to spend life thinking about getting to the next big thing.  It’s true that I spent much of the year looking forward to the road trip.  But I tried to enjoy things along the way.

That’s what I’m doing now.  There are things on the horizon I’m looking forward to.  But for the moment I need to focus on the day job, on the weekend job as a scare actor, and maybe on yard cleanup.  Although some of that clean up is waiting until the weather changes again and the copperheads go off to hibernate.

While I never really liked going back to school, in some ways I miss the autumns of my youth that included football games, pep rallies, homecoming, hay rides, and tricks or treats.  You get the idea.

Still, autumn is a warm, fuzzy season.  If you live in the south, it’s like summer with pumpkins.

Bring it on.


FINALLY FRIDAY – What Three Words?

Sunrise over Tuweep

Sunrise over Tuweep

Come here to me you fabulous Friday and lie to me about how much we’re going to get done this weekend.

I have a list. A long list. You probably do as well.

Earlier this week I attempted to make a complete list of everything – and I do mean everything – that I need, okay in some cases want, to be doing.

So far, I’ve only managed to mark one item off the list: completing the list.

Although the truth is, if I went back right now, I’d find more things to add.

We’re nearing the end of the third quarter of the year. Fast away and all that.

I am officially in Spooky/Turkey/Santa season. Between now and January 1st, it’s a bit of a marathon.

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And I don’t run.

Still, it’s a good time to look back on My Three Words for 2023 to see how I’m doing. It’s always good to review.

My three words for 2023 were/are: Pray, Prepare, Play.

In the grand scheme of things, I’m doing okay with all three.

Not necessarily great, mind you. I don’t think I’ll ever feel that I’m accomplished, or good enough, in prayer. Then again, that’s not what prayer is all about. Twice this year our church has done 21 Days of Prayer. I’ve managed to make most of both, although my August participation was cut short by the road trip. I’ve also tried to be more consistent in a morning prayer time.

I’m not good at it. I think God knows that. I think he just wants me to spend some time with him. I’m trying. And I’ll keep doing so.

I’ve done a lot of preparing this year. For one thing, the Old Man Bucket List Road Trip (OMBLRT ™) took a lot of preparation and planning. And yes, there are stories to be told.

The telling thereof is one of the items on the list. I thought about putting the trip on the list so I could mark off another item. I’m just not ready to say the trip is over. I’m still reliving the memories.

I’m also preparing for retirement. It’s not coming soon, at least not soon enough. But there are plans to be made.

I have a date in mind. That may or may not change.

Buying all my books and getting all your friends and family (and their friends and family) to do the same would help with that date.

Available at Amazon.

No, I’m not announcing the retirement date yet. When you need to know, you will.

Finally, let’s be clear, I’ve had a pretty good handle on the whole play thing this year.

We spent a great week at the beach in April. As soon as I got back I was into rehearsals for Sound of the Guns, one of the most significant pieces of theater I’ve been privileged to be a part of.

Of course, August was all about the Old Man Bucket List Road Trip (OMBLRT ™). We did it. We had a grand time. You can still view the photos on Instagram and Facebook. Like I said above, I’m working on telling the story. That takes time and preparation as well.

Also, as noted, we’re heading straight into Spooky season. Halloween Haunt opens next Friday night at Kings Dominion. I’m back this year as a scare actor. No, I won’t tell you where, but if you come, you may see me. If I don’t see you first.

As soon as Haunt ends we’re in rehearsals for Winterfest. We’ll take a slight break in between to watch the parade and stuff ourselves with Turkey.

That takes us through to the end of the year.

We’ll be extending our family Christmas season until the first of February when our youngest returns from his semester in Japan. After that, I’m thinking it would only be nine months before I’d have to put the decorations up again.

I’ll let you know what I can get away with.

In the meantime, there’s a list, there’s a weekend. There’s work to do.

Mow ’em if you’ve got ’em.