Sunday, September 10, 2000

Road to fall is paved with summer's good intentions




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        What I did on my summer vacation:

        Waited for the daylilies to bloom. They didn't.

        Sat on my deck on the longest day of the year, listening to Marty and Joe as the sun slid through the trees like an over-easy egg off a plate.

        Swore I'd play more golf. Never did.

        Pondered.

        Watched Survivor. Rooted for Rudy, who reminded me of Marge. Recalled a poster of Archie Bunker: “There's a little bit of me in all of youse,” it said. True, true.

        Watched my 10-year-old daughter master a two-wheeler. She has Down syndrome. It was like watching stars dance across a ballroom sky. Every time.

        Watched my 14-year-old son grow like a rumor. One year, he's playing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The next he's wearing size 10 shoes. Now he's in high school. Oh my.

        Time is a rocket ship. Time is a thief.

        Went to the mountain in North Carolina and stared at all the peace in the world.

        Went to Ireland. Looked for a job in a Dingle pub. Would've stayed had I found it, I swear.

        Burned meat on the grill.

        Yawned, stretched, said the hell with it.

        Daydreamed of all the places I'd rather be: A house on a lake, a cliff in Marin County, Wrigley Field. The first tee.

        Helped my parents move. Cursed the hole distance creates.

        Booked a plane ticket through Priceline. Flew from Sarasota to Dayton via, um, Newark. Sat on a runway for three hours. Flight canceled. Spent night in Econo-Roach. Developed new loathing for air travel.

        And Priceline.

        Thought great thoughts. I could be on Millionaire. Look at the dopes who are. I could raise gas prices every holiday weekend and blame it on OPEC or refinery problems or some damned thing. I could.

        But I didn't.

        Yelled at bored kids. Threw them into the sultry day. “Use your imagination,” I pleaded. “How?” they said.

        Planned to write a book. Again.

        Brooded.

        Wanted to move to the country. Wanted a convertible. Wanted Junior to hit 50 home runs. Wanted the light to last every night until almost 10. Wanted the heat to bake my sins and a cool breeze to make everything right.

        Wanted to toss my brain to the wind and see what the wind blew back. Possibility never looks better than it does in July.

        Summer is the best time. Summer is the only season worth its days.

        They never named a movie The Winter of '42 or a book The Boys of Fall. Winter is the season of isolation and regret. Fall is mournful and melancholy. My mother died in the fall.

        Spring is too schizoid to be soothing. Spring is too wet. There ain't no cure for the Springtime Blues, because there ain't no such thing.

        Summer is the best time, only the older you get, the more it ceases being a distinct season, or even a finely honed state of mind. It runs away from you. At the beginning of every summer, I swear to make it memorable and purposeful. Mostly, I swear to make it last. It never does. Summer is sand through my hands.

        I did at the end of this summer what I do at the end of every summer: I thought about all the stuff I didn't do.

        Then I swore I'd do it all. Next summer.

        But I probably won't.

        Summer's gone.

        Where'd it go?

        Enquirer columnist Paul Daugherty welcomes your comments at 768-8454.

DAUGHERTY ARCHIVE