December 31st is the time of year for new beginnings where it is customary for most to plan for the New Year. We make resolutions and vow to change something about our lives that will make the new year better. And then we CELEBRATE!!!
But for me, it's August. That sultry, middle of the year, month! And in most states, it is usually the hottest month ever. Sometimes the state of Texas sees hotter temperatures in the month of September. But, for me, August is the turning point for new beginnings and thoughts of transitions into a new year.
As a young girl, August was a month of anticipation. I had to start thinking about a new school year and how I would measure up to the kids and teachers. Of course, I was able to stay in touch with a few of my school friends during the summer, but not really on a daily basis. In 1950's Kansas we started a new school year the day after Labor Day. We would have enrolled for school the previous week. Then there was a matter of new school clothes and shoes. With 3 school aged kids in my family, our new clothes would be limited...2 or 3 dresses each for my sister and me, and 2 or 3 new shirts and pants for my brother. And, we would each get a new pair of shoes-saddle oxfords or loafers. So, would my plaid dresses and brown and white oxfords pass inspection of my peers or only provoke laughter? And last, but not least, how quickly would August go by, when summer runs out of time and it's back to business again? How soon would the earth begin to cool down and roll me into my dearly beloved autumn?
During my teen years, bringing in the 1960's, I felt much the same about August, with a few fun exceptions. There would be some teen dances throughout the summer at the Methodist Church-guaranteed to take your mind off of summer's eminent demise. And my parents purchased season passes for us at a local swim club, so I did get to spend some time with friends and actually meet new friends. I started working parttime after Christmas with a work permit at the age of 14. So I did have a little spending money and was able to "shuck" the oxfords for a "cool fad" pair of shoes to start the new school year. However, during a checkup with our family doctor, he asked how it was that he missed my tonsils, since he had jerked my sister's and brother's tonsils out when we were much younger. So, out with my tonsils and goodbye fun in the sun! I then prayed for the long, hot, dog days of summer to guide me through recovery and back to school.
In June of my 16th year, I took Driver's Ed classes at our high school. Most of the time I had to walk about 2 miles to the school and back for the classes. But once in a while, I would drive my Grandfather's old Plymouth that my mother had bought from my Grandmother when Grandpa passed away. I would park it a couple of blocks behind the school and walk to my class from there. One day my Driver's Ed instructor asked, "Well, how's the old Plymouth running these days, Miss Berry?" I tried to act dumb, but he knew and he laughed...PHEW! So I managed to breeze through the hot classroom studies and did receive my driver's license. Once again, came the countdown to August's arrival and the thought of driving that OLD Plymouth to school for the first time. And, once again, August did take me into a new life with new commitments and new celebrations!
And now, in my very adult life, I have focused on August both in the working world and in my family life. I remember buying new school clothes and shoes for my son before he could even walk! Sometimes I even buy myself a back to school outfit, and once I got in on a back to school sale on eyeglasses! And, yes, I still look at school supplies, lunch boxes and book bags. And I can always use an extra spiral notebook. School now starts sometime in August and that really throws me. I countdown the days before school starts in our area. Well, since I do drive to work every day, I need to be conscious of the school buses and school zones. And the traffic is heavier after school starts in August, so I try to leave for work a few minutes earlier in the mornings. Now, as a Grandmother, I think of my grandson and how I will get to help with school clothes and supplies. He is just now 21 months old and we have already gotten crayolas and drawing paper for him. See a pattern forming?
Oh August, I'm counting on you to take me by the hand and dance me into the beautiful season of Fall where God's paintings are color splashes of orange, red and purple!
Well, I decided to call up my old pal "Mark Twain" and see if he has anything to say since he's been on a short break...and his reply was:
"The trouble ain't that there is too many fools, but that the lightning ain't distributed right."
I'd like to know who his English teacher was. I mean, I copied this quote exactly as it was written! Maybe I should research his life and education further-could be something I missed. But nevertheless, I love the guy! My brother, sister and I played "Authors" and "Old Maid" card games when we were younger and I remember his picture on one of the cards-but I don't remember which card it was. Does anyone out there know? Drop me a line if you can shed some light on the subject. In the meantime, I'll do some more research and be back with you.
By the way, the temperature today, Monday, August 2, 2010, in Texas got to 106 degrees! We have a husky dog and my husband keeps her favorite spots watered down, and then puts a fan out to cool down the wet spots. That poor dog-my husband rescued her about 8 years ago. We don't know if she was lost or dumped out. But Texas is NOT the place for a husky. We love her and she is a good dog. And we couldn't part with her, but we feel so bad in the summer. It snowed this past December and she was a totally different dog. She couldn't get enough of it. I will have to post some pictures of her later with snow on her.
And time is nearing for a new survey. I would like to see a better showing of hands this time around. Come on! There's nothing like a little trivia to keep us thinking, eh?