Labor Day, the end of summer, as youthful school years used to dictate. It was back to school for me, a new size uniform; perpetually navy blue.
Later on, in my early working years in Manhattan, "after Labor Day" meant no more white shoes if I wanted to maintain my self-believed stylish reputation. Light wool dresses, a sweater maybe, dark pumps of course. The subways became less smelly.
Still later, the young mother years, my style was a new pair of boot leg corduroys and a couple of sweaters, but the kids needed clothes for school. How much had they grown? What were the trends? What kind of new sneakers were “in”, and could I afford them? Little kids are easy, and boys too. But my daughter? Ouch. In freshman year of high school she embraced a whole new style. Who was she? As she gravitated to baggy wool pants instead of jeans or corduroys? Vests, checks and plaids. Black boot-like shoes. Shopping with her for school was like walking with glass in your shoes. I left her in the mall once and went out to the car to wait; we agreed on nothing.
Labor Day, the end of summer, have I read enough books? No. I am falling behind on my Goodreads goal, but there have been some gems that I read guiltily on the scorching days when a fan did its best to cool me off or I fled in my car, blasting the AC, to a coffee shop in Woodstock, to read and get cooled off. My favorite book of the summer? “Cutting for Stone”, a 2009 novel written by Ethiopian-born Indian-American medical doctor and author Abraham Verghese. It is a saga of twin brothers, orphaned by their mother's death at their births and forsaken by their father. Quite a read.
Labor Day, the end of summer, yet the Katydids continue valiantly to liven the black nights by their trilling Katy-did, Katy-didn’t, my favorite serenade. The tomatoes in the garden ripen and swell to an almost obscene size, demanding by sheer volume, to be sliced open and made into sauce, though three containers are still in the freezer from last years. No, I will not toss them out. Others in the garden gasp for attention, the greens wilted and bolting, squash bugs slaughtering the zucchini and cukes, and on and on. Flowers like echinacea, lambs ears, balloon flowers, spider wort, all the ones that have been like a parade of beauty contestants all summer, now look like they paraded the runway a few too many hundreds of times, fading and leaning and tilting, but marigolds continue on with their button sized smiles.
Labor Day, the end of summer but there are summer memories spun like a stunning spider web; an early evening Dames dinner when the five dames clapped and yelled hooray every time I brought a dish to the table on the deck. Who doesn’t love applause? There was family, kids, frog catching, ice cream eating, great barbecue, frosted drinks, grilled potatoes, ears of corn dripping with butter, huge salads with five different garden greens, laughter and friendship. There was a special day that began with a simple theme: Pink. There were five special Babes, who dressed with varying accessorized touches of pink, who donned pink cats eye sunglasses studded with rhinestones, who made and brought pink food, yes pink food – let your imagination run wild- and after lunch, and yes pink adult beverages, sat at the table and chatted and assembled glow sticks into bracelets and necklaces, and then what else could be done to see these glow in the dark creations? Five fabulous friends crammed into the dark bathroom, and had a rollicking good laugh for themselves.
Labor Day, the end of summer, but the memories linger on…Sparkle on, Sparkle Forever.