On Friday, I received the latest news release guaranteed to make my day start with a long, slow sizzle.
“Summer is over,” the release announced, as I shook my head in disagreement. “Now it is the time to get back to the routine of …”
No. No. No, it is not.
Summer is not over. My routine autumn chores — raking leaves, ignoring pumpkins-spice coffee, hunting for elusive deer — can wait.
Now, I’m the first to admit that as I work my way through middle age, I sometimes find myself turning into the prototypical old “get off my lawn” guy and must force myself to smile, ignore minor annoyances and focus on the positive.
And I’ll grudgingly admit that those who insist on declaring summer over three days before I chow down my own Labor Day feast are minor annoyances at best.
But for one weekend, do me a favor — or three. Look at your calendar, and repeat after me: “It’s still summer.”
And now, go out there and have yourself a great late-summer weekend.
Head to camp, and hop in the lake. The water is still fine. I guarantee it. Heck, head to the ocean and dip a toe or two. You might be surprised at how warm the water is. (Or, then again, you might not. … It is Maine, after all.)
Put a canoe in the water and go for a paddle. Take a fishing rod with you. Cast lures toward shore. I’ll bet there’s a bass or two lurking.
If you’re in the Bangor area Monday, lace up your running shoes and head over to the recreation and parks building on Main Street. The annual Labor Day 5 Mile Road Race kicks off at 9 a.m.
From past experience, I can tell you that anyone mourning the absence of summer on the first Monday of September needs only waddle 5 miles through sweltering heat on the streets of Bangor to learn the truth: It’s not yet autumn.
According to my handy iPhone weather app, it’s going to be a balmy 87 degrees in Bangor on Monday. Not exactly apple cider and sweater weather, eh?
In all seriousness, the transition from the carefree days of summer to the more hectic weeks to come is certainly under way. There are those who insist on cheating us out of the last three weeks of summer, and here in Maine, where summer is far too short to begin with, that ought to qualify as at least a misdemeanor. But it all makes a bit of sense for one key reason.
The kids are heading back to school.
Now, don’t get me wrong: I love getting to spend quality time with the whole family, and having the kids camped out in their bedrooms, playing Fortnite 22 hours per day, popping their heads out, Punxsutawney Phil-style, to find a scrap of food when they truly get desperate.
But even as I curse those who are pushing me, reluctantly, into autumn, I recognize that the arrival of the school year and its rigorous schedule does provide a sense of order that can pay dividends.
And I’m nearly, almost, kind of ready for fall to arrive.
Just give me one more weekend — or two — of summer fun. Hot dogs on the grill. Swims in the lake. Paddles around the pond.
After that, I guess I’ll be ready to join the masses and call summer over.
Hold the pumpkin spice, of course.
John Holyoke can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 990-8214. Follow him on Twitter: @JohnHolyoke