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

Why Must Sick People Be Put On Hold?

(This essay originally appeared in The Beach Reporter in 1991.  Still relevant today…)

Fact: I have never called a doctor’s office and not been put on hold.
Fact: I have never gone to a doctor and not waited at least twenty minutes, and often much longer, for an appointment that I was on time for.
Fact: I have rarely been treated all that courteously by the people who work at the front desks or answer the phones at doctor’s offices. In fact, they usually act put out that I had the nerve to get sick and demand an appointment that very day.
Fact: I have had a doctor take a call from a contractor working on his house while rotely feeling the glands on my neck. I barely got to tell him what was wrong with me because he was so aggravated over how his construction was going.
Fact: All doctors must have gotten together at the last medical convention and decided they would play the same bad music when patients are on hold. Continue reading