Anywhere else in the world, you know it’s fall when the temperatures cool off.
In Mississippi, they kind of don’t, so you rely on marketing to alert you to a season change.
You know it’s “fall in Mississippi” when just about everything in stores is either pumpkin flavored or pumpkin scented.
Look to your left, look to your right, quick, behind you! Pumpkin-flavored candy, pumpkin breakfast pastries, pumpkin marshmallows, pumpkin vodka, pumpkin bagels, pumpkin tea, pumpkin-scented lotion.
And don’t forget the Almighty PSL – you know, pumpkin spice latte.
Don’t get me wrong, I love pumpkin as much as the next person.
But when pumpkiny stuff hits the shelves, that means fall it is on its way, and that makes me sad.
I’m one of those rare weirdos who loves, loves, loves a Mississippi summer.
There aren’t many of us out there. I’ve found most Mississippians whine, complain, moan and grumble about the heat, like they’re shocked that it gets that hot in a Southern state.
My theory? If you can’t take the heat, get out of Mississippi.
If I had it my way, the weather would only get below, say, 75 or so from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Eve. New Year’s Day-Thanksgiving: it’s summer, baby.
I learned to appreciate a good Southern summer when I was in high school. I took a trip to Los Angeles in early July.
Many of us girls packed T-shirts and shorts, expecting hot California weather.
I didn’t consider the fact that there’s no humidity out there – I joked that they didn’t have any air to breathe – and the temperatures never went above 90.
I was freezing. It was like I had chronic goosebumps.
For a few days after I returned home to Mississippi, I stood outside in 100-degree weather and probably 1,000 percent humidity.
It felt so good, like an old blanket just pulled from the dryer, like a warm bath soothing aching muscles. It reminded me of the way my grandma tightly tucked me in at night, so I felt like a warm, snuggly, loved mummy.
It warmed me down to my bones, and I felt at home.
A Mississippi summer offers so much more: a symphony of bugs at night and a performance by fireflies, the sweet scent of honeysuckle, gorgeous green scenery.
There’s even a sweetness to taking a break from the heat: sometimes nothing feels as good as air conditioning, and iced tea, sweet or unsweet, tastes better in the summer.
I can’t even bear to think of winter, with its bleak, gray skies and winds so cold and bitter they make bones ache and move slowly.
So please, pumpkin-y items, travel slowly to stores. Take your time.
I’m still enjoying these last few days of summer.
I may be the only one, but I’m there.
Contact staff writer SHEENA BARNETT at email@example.com.