I love fall. It has become my favorite season.
The shadows become longer.
The sky looks bluer and the trees seem greener as the humidity begrudgingly drops and eventually takes the temperature down with it.
We live near a high school as the crow flies. And at the risk of sounding like a Kenny Chesney song, I like to hear the band practicing during the week and the PA announcer’s voice over the loudspeaker on Friday nights during home games.
When it’s a particularly big play I can hear the crowd sometimes.
Fall also marks the rebirth of the foods I love.
We make chili a lot. It’s to die for.
I like to grill on Saturday nights in the fall while listening to the Vol Network guys do their post-game wrap-up about whichever team Tennessee trounced earlier in the day.
I like to grill when they lose, too, but it’s not nearly as much fun.
I would not have always waxed poetic about fall, however. Except for football, I didn’t care for it too much when I was in school because it meant the end of summer vacation.
Labor Day weekend was always a three-day wake for me.
Don’t get me wrong. I liked school fine. I was a pretty good student. I participated in my share of activities, and I had lots of good friends.
But I never liked sitting still, and as you know, school is the ultimate exercise in sitting still.
I never really liked homework, either. I don’t guess many people really ever did.
No matter how much I was caught up on my studies, I always felt like there was something I could be working on.
I remember wanting to be out of school and getting a job so when quitting time came I could forget about whatever I was doing and not give it another thought until the next morning.
Oh, well, we all see how that worked out.
When we were kids, summer always meant riding our bicycles or playing baseball or basketball somewhere in the neighborhood until the streetlights came on.
We spent countless hours on scalding tennis courts. I don’t know what kept us from dying of heat stroke.
One summer, a couple of friends and I turned a Radio Flyer wagon into a rolling lemonade stand and pulled it behind our bikes in the subdivision where we lived. We made enough money to ride downtown and each get a burger and fries.
On the weekends, we always found water to get in somewhere.
I kept my love of water into adulthood. We’ve had a pool for 30 years.
We would spend the entire weekend floating or sitting beside it.
But it’s simply too hot to swim these summers, it seems.
And regardless of how hot and dry it is, the weeds somehow still continue to grow.
I think they like it better that way.
So, bring on sweatshirt weather. Bring on fall festivals, apple season and the SEC Network.
As I sit outside in the shade right now writing about sweatshirt weather, it’s 93 degrees. But, the breeze feels just a little drier than it would’ve felt a couple of weeks ago.
That tells me fall is coming. I can feel it.
But it isn’t here yet.
(Barry Currin is founder and President of White Oak Advertising and Public Relations, based in Cleveland, Tennessee. Readers can mail him at email@example.com.)