Indian Summer

(Originally appeared in my essay collection Lake Forest Moments)

There are always those precious days in early fall when we are granted a few last glorious days of summer. Even though there have already been chilly mornings, and the pumpkins hang heavy on their vines, suddenly it gets hot again for a day or two, and everyone gets as giddy as though it was spring.

This is the best time to call friends and family together and go down to the lake for an evening barbecue.

We meet friends at the lake pavilion with footballs, beach towels, and coolers of food. Our collective children, seven of them between the ages of ten and fourteen, also sense that this will be the last true day of summer. The previous weeks of school are shed in a flash as they run with abandon, barefoot through the sand, whirling and laughing and calling out to one another.

In a few years they will all be teenagers and we will be lucky to get them to come with us at all. But for now we are envious of their freedom to jump and twirl, their ability to live in the moment. Continue reading

The Summer Stay-Cation: A Labor Day Story

For Labor Day Weekend: A short-short story just for fun…

A lone leaf drifted lazily into the small kidney-shaped swimming pool in the backyard of my dear friend Muffy. An orange leaf. The three of use, Muffy, Buffy, and myself peered up with trepidation at the large elm tree that shades the deep end of the pool.

“Is that what I think it is?” asked Muffy, with a pained sigh.

Buffy lowered her huge, protective sunglasses and tilted up her enormous hemp sun hat to further assess the situation. She sighed as well. “Yes, I’m afraid summer is almost over. Before you know it the Neiman Marcus holiday catalog will be here.”

“Are you still getting that?” asked Muffy. She sounded a bit smug and sanctimonious, and I knew what was coming next. “I e-mailed all my stores and asked them to not send me any more catalogs. Do you know how many trees it takes to make one Neiman Marcus holiday catalog? More like a forest!”

I couldn’t see behind Buffy’s sunglasses but I knew she was rolling her eyes. Continue reading

Volunteerism – A Unique State of Mind

(Originally appeared in The Beach Reporter on 7/9/92.)

On my desk sits my Oscar. My Oscar differs slightly from the real Academy Award, but it is cherished nonetheless.

It is made of gold plastic and is about 8 ½ inches tall. It sits on top of my stack of unsold, unpublished writing. My Oscar has nothing to do with my writing, however. I received it for a volunteer position I took on at my children’s school.

During a recent Parents Club meeting, awards were handed out to various moms at the school for volunteer jobs they had done. My job was a small one. Some of the women performed truly Herculean tasks, like chairing the school carnival or being in charge of a dinner dance. They really deserved their Oscars. Continue reading

Celebrating Life’s Milestones

(A Beach Reporter column from May 29, 1992.)

May and June always seem to me to mark the passage of time even more than the beginning of the new year in January. We start a new calendar in January, but in late spring we mark many of life’s milestones. Graduations, weddings, ceremonies marking the completion of work well-done, luncheons honoring teachers – all these events traditionally mark the season of late spring.

It is during these ceremonies that we take notice of our lives. Life can be so monotonous sometimes, so we need celebrations to renew our souls and awaken our emotions. We need to mark the passage of time with parties. Graduates reflect on the completion of their education and are quietly proud of their accomplishment. Newly married couples start out on a journey full of promise. She will always be as beautiful as she is on this wedding day. He will always look at her with adoration. Continue reading