Labor Day weekend usually marks the end of summer for most folks, even though the twenty-first of September is still three weeks away. The wife, daughter, and I have all been back in school for two weeks which is quite a departure from my childhood when school never started until after Labor Day.
It was already seventy-eight degrees when I headed into town this morning to run some errands. There was a gray haze over the lake not far from where we live and surprisingly few boats with fishermen trying to catch that last crappie of the season. I didn't get much fishing done with my gals this past summer. Dad's failing health and eventual passing preoccupied much of our time.
The small country church a few miles up the road offered some spiritual reflection as I passed by. The gravel parking lot was empty as it usually is... six days a week. I've done a lot of reflecting since dad passed in July. Although we lived a couple of hours apart, it seems our frequent phone calls the last couple of years offered deeper thoughts, sincere conversation, and opportunities for my dad and I to talk more as friends than as father and son.
Everywhere I went today, there seemed to be an almost surreal lack of people. Maybe it was the heat. Too hot to work and too hot to play... we all seem inclined to withdraw to our conditioned air on days like these. Nobody appeared to be in the bank when I first walked in. A teller finally popped out from around the corner. I guess she couldn't help herself when she asked the most rhetorical question of the day, "Hot enough for ya?"
Darn, the Drive-Thru Barn was already closed up for the day, I'll have to wait until Tuesday to pick up some more dog food. Those two dogs seem to eat by the ton, not the pound. Even Ruger and Sasha would rather hang out in the air-conditioning than bark at the strangers stopping by the neighbor's yard sale across the way.
The fire station seems eerily void of people today. Maybe they're all in back hoping nothing needs their bravery and assistance... as the protective wear of a firefighter has got to be a step away from hell with heat and humidity like this.
Usually, the local TSC looks like a pick-up truck convention hit town on a Saturday, but just a couple of vehicles are parked outside. I'm not sure who does the hiring there, but they have the cutest country gals around ringing-up my carriage bolts and reels of welding wire for the old Hobart.
A new project in the barn might be needed since I finished all the new target stands and steel for the shootin' range out back. I'm not sure what my main gal would say if I brought home another tractor, plus it's not John Deere green and I don't really want to push my luck as she recently gave the "OK" for some firearm purchases.
The crops around here have been looking pretty good compared to many areas where drought conditions have hit pretty hard. The haze of the humidity that hangs over a neighbor's farm makes me hope this is getting to the end of the heat for the summer. I wonder what the heat was like in the Philippines when dad was there in WWII. There's a lot of things I never really got around to asking him. Even I enjoy my conditioned air these days and I wonder how I don't remember the heat from when I grew up in a house with no air-conditioning. I don't remember dad complaining much about hot days either.
Even the Fishing Pole is deserted today. Usually this place is full-up on a Saturday with folks getting bait, hooks, beer, bread, chips, gas, and whatever else they need for day at the lake or on the deck, cooking out. I took a few minutes to stop in, have a cold iced-tea (is that redundant?) and chat with Jeff and Karen, the proprietors... good folks who greet you with a smile, know a bit about guns, and are always able to keep you up on the latest news around the township.
Turning on to Baker Road not far from home is always a time to be alert. You never know what will run across the road in between these woods. I've seen turkey, fox, racoons, squirrels, deer, dogs, and even an occasional rabbit and groundhog make the suicide dash on this little stretch of country tar and gravel.
The evening has been spent getting ready for some shootin' fun tomorrow after church. A quick pass by the gun club tomorrow for a round of skeet ought to be relaxing. After that, the mags are loaded, targets are ready, and steel is waiting on the shootin' range here at home. I think the gals and I are gonna have some end of summer fun this weekend.