OPINION: Summertime loses month for more fun

Whatever happened to August?
I mean the August that once belonged to summer.
Remember, how as a child, you’d move so smoothly from July into August, luxuriating in the sure knowledge that you still had weeks and weeks before you ever had to think about going back to school?
It was still summer. It was still hot.
Heck, today August means school starts in a week to 10 days and you’d better have bought your school supplies before July was over or you probably can’t find all that special graph or vanilla paper.
Back in the day, nobody got in a hurry to get back into school because it wasn’t air-conditioned.
Maybe the prevalence of indoor cooled air has shrunk summers for us all.
It certainly ruined neighborhood lounging on the front porch and speaking to friends as they walked by on the way to the Little League ball field.
Seems like when everybody got air conditioning, nobody wanted to walk anywhere any more.
Before we got to be too-fancy teenagers, we’d walk the block to the White House in McComb for a snowball. I liked grape.
We’d watch the older kids or we’d walk back home as the so-gorgeous hormonal young males squealed their parents’ tires to see how far they could lay rubber from the drive-in hang-out.
Before the social longings of those pre-teen days, everybody in the neighborhood would band together daily in August to tromp a few blocks to the woods bordering the airport.
We spent weeks building “forts” and hanging around, play-acting that we were pioneers or Pilgrims or something else we were not.
The agony of that enjoyment was the certainty that just as we really got settled into our creations, our mothers would remind us about the imminent start of school.
We Brumfields had the good fortune to live on the same block as our elementary school. I think the only day I ever rode to that school was during a hurricane.
Best of all, the proximity gave us a front-row seat to watch the arrival of first-graders on their first day.
Most of them were brave little creatures, always looking so small to the rest of us big kids.
Their mothers often walked them there because this was the day of neighborhood schools and nobody really lived all that far away, it seemed.
Most bravely mounted the steps from Burke Street up the sidewalk toward the school’s rear entrances facing the playground.
But occasionally, we were delighted by the sight of a wailing child, flailing around at the thought of independence.
Three months of summertime gave anxious Moms time to convince their school newbies that a new experience was worth it.
These days, with so short a summer, it’s a wonder everybody isn’t crying.
Contact Patsy R. Brumfield at (662) 678-1596 or patsy.brumfield@djournal.com. Read Patsy’s blog, From the Front Row, at NEMS360.com.

Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal

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