Yesterday, I wore my Pittsburgh Pirates hoodie while talking Maddie for her morning walk. That was partly due to the fact that she wanted to walk early, but partly because the temperature was 52°f (11°c) – 52! We haven’t seen the low 50s since…I don’t remember. The calendar says summer has two more weeks, but after 32 days with the temperature over 90°f, humidity in the 90% range and a dew point that said “don’t leave home without a towel,” I’m ready to kick summer to the curb, in favor of my favorite season – Autumn.
Autumn in New England is the payment we receive for enduring Winter in New England, and this year, I’m tacking on a surcharge for the snow in April and the fact that Florida moved in for the summer. In addition to the heat, we endured rain upon rain upon rain storm, so Mother Nature owes us – big!
There are other signs that autumn is arriving. Under my Pirates hoodie, I was still wearing my West Virginia (WVU Football) tee shirt. I had to choose which alma mater to support on Saturday, Pitt or WVU. Pitt was playing Penn State, and WVU was playing Youngstown State. WVU won 52 – 17, while Pitt lost 51 – 6. Ouch! Some would say that, since Penn State is my home state’s flagship university, I should feel good about their winning, but that’s not true. You have to have grown up in Western Pennsylvania to understand, that you can like Pitt (University of Pittsburgh) or Penn State, but you can’t like both. It’s like New England Clam Chowder vs. Manhattan Clam Chowder – pick one and stick with it.
UConn (University of Connecticut) also lost, 62 – 7 to Boise State. That’s OK by me. To extend the analogy from above, UConn is the Rhode Island Clam Chowder (broth, not chowder) of college football. It shouldn’t be on the menu with the other two. If you don’t follow NCAA football, you wouldn’t know that Pitt, WVU and UConn used to be in the same conference. They don’t play each other anymore, but I haven’t made peace.
In contrast to the cool temps and the beginning of football, there are some negative signs that fall has arrived. I’m leaving for work in the dark, and I’m sharing the roads with school buses. So many school buses! Worse than school buses are the parents that drive their oh-so-special kids to school. I know, I’m skirting the wrath of a few folks here who have school-age kids, but I’m assuming that you are not jacki (my plural form of jackass). My favorite MoOSSC (mother of oh-so-special child) is the woman who parks next to a stop sign while waiting for the bus. I have to go around her, effectively blocking the intersection in order to see if anyone is coming. If there is, and if they were hoping to turn, I’m in the way.
One disturbing sign, literally, is the one at the newly renovated entrance to Great River Park. The park is open from dawn to dusk, and the new sign lists the precise times that the park is open and the periods when the gates will be locked! I am not fond of the idea of driving up and finding the parking lot closed. That will rule out the possibility of Hartford reflections in dark water.
In the category of things that cross the line between seasons, are the construction project we’re working on and the yard/garden we have to work on. Construction is moving off the roof and onto the walls. I have just barely started preparing the walls for the vinyl siding that will be applied this fall. The grass in the yard – I can’t bring myself to use the word ‘lawn’ – would normally be just coming back to life after having been burnt to a cinder in August. This year, it’s green, growing and demanding to be cut, whacked and trimmed out of places it shouldn’t be. Places like the cracks in the driveway and along the edges of the sidewalk. That grass has to go, because it will prevent an easy pass with the snow-blower – which I just now remembered has to go in for a tune-up.