Pinch of Salt Graphic (English)

Whose bright idea was it to end summer in the middle of August, anyway?

When I was a kid (and yes, I was a kid), summer vacation lasted from Memorial Day to Labor Day — a good three months.

That's what seasons are supposed to be. Three months. There are four seasons in a year, and 12 months in a year. Ergo, seasons last for three months. (Always wanted to use ergo in a column.)

But that apparently no longer applies.

We're doing a football kickoff section in this week's paper — on Aug. 9. High schools start playing next week. I sort of see the logic. If a team actually makes it all the way to the CIF championship, they'll be playing until Nov. 23.

But you're supposed to be playing football in the fall.

I was browsing the web earlier this week, considering places to go for a short long weekend at the end of the month (before Labor Day), and checked out the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. It's one of our favorites, and they have some cool stuff going on this summer. Then I checked the fine print. All the seasonal stuff ends on Aug. 12.

But Aug. 12 is still summer, dammit.

It's not purely a California phenomenon, either. My Colorado grandkids are all getting their school clothes and backpacks in order. One starts next week, the others start school the week of Aug. 20.

But the crops are still in the field.

Okay, that last one might have been a bit cryptic. As I understand it, the whole concept of summer vacation was to allow youngsters to work in their parents' fields. (I was surprised it wasn't so we could play baseball too.) And at least in the Heartland, harvest didn't take place until around Labor Day.

But you don't see too many youngsters in the fields these days.

I'll give Long Beach Unified School District some credit. At least they're not starting classes until the last week of the month. As I understand it, the powers that be are trying to beat the heat because some schools still haven't had air conditioning installed.

But it's a well-known fact the hottest month of the year in Long Beach is September.

Maybe this whole fall starts in the middle of August thing is a matter of wishful thinking. Considering the heat we've been suffering through, there's more than a little reason to long for the cool of autumn.

But wishful thinking isn't going to stop climate change and global warming.

I'm well aware that our modern society has a thing for manipulating time. Did you know there is talk about making Daylight Saving Time permanent? As far as I'm concerned, that's just changing the starting time. Shall we muse on the whole concept of telling time? I think not. Wouldn't be prudent.

But even so, we're talking about seasons here.

I'll confess, my thing with summer is more nostalgic than reality. These days, I work just as much in the summer as I do in the winter. What it all boils down to is an old Simon and Garfunkel song, written by Paul Simon and sung by a number of people, called "Feelin' Groovy." It goes like this:

"Slow down, you move too fast; You got to make the morning last ; Just kicking down the cobblestones; Looking for fun and feeling groovy."

For me, it's still summer. No buts about it.

Harry has been executive editor of Gazette Newspapers for more than 20 years. He has been in the newspaper business for more than 30 years, with experience on both weekly and metropolitan daily papers in Colorado and California.

Load comments