By Joe Rector

Well, summer is officially over; at least that’s what those “in the know” say. Last century (It sounds so funny to say that), summer fun came to an end the Tuesday after Labor Day when schools opened their doors. However, this year, children sat in classrooms the first week of August. By the time the national holiday rolled around, they and their teachers were begging for a day off.

I fight the end of summer harder than anyone. The mower still cuts the grass, even though the lawn is beginning to look tired and just a bit brown. That happens to Bermuda grass when the season is over. I ignore as much as possible the leaves that have fallen from the trees. Instead, I convince myself that some strong wind that accompanied a thunderstorm ripped them from their branches, although those  that litter my yard are still green and filled with life.

Tennessee football must have forgotten that fall was moved up. At least their opening performancesa seemed to suggest that the games against inferior foes had been forgotten that “It’s football time in Tennessee”. Oh, and Mother Nature decided that she’d make an already miserable situation even worse by throwing temperatures in the 90s and a scalding sun at fans sitting on aluminum seats. Dejected folks left the stadium, stunned, disappointed, and sunburned. It wasn’t a good combination for the Vol Nation.

Public pools close after Labor Day. I heard on the news that even Dollywood Splash Country was closed for business on the Tuesday after the holiday. My pool is still opened and will stay that way until the end of September. Sure, the water slowly gets colder as the month wears on, but I made a promise to myself when we put the thing in several years ago. As long as the temperatures don’t fall lower than mountain streams, I’ll be in water every day that doesn’t have a storm. One of the saddest times in our household is when the cover goes over the water. To us, that’s the end of summer.

I also fight changes in wardrobes at the end of summer. From the end of March until the first hint of frost on the ground, I live in shorts t-shirts and tennis shoes. A bathing suit and flip-flops make up my alternative wardrobe. The only time a pair of slacks or jeans leave the hangers in my closet is when I go to church, attend a funeral, or eat at a nice restaurant. Long-sleeved shirts and pants strangle my body and feel so uncomfortable after all those months of freedom.

By now, I’ve indirectly announced that I hate cold weather. The days are short, the nights are long, and the weather is raw. I feel trapped inside and unable to freely go about completing projects as I do during warm weather months. I know the end is near, but trust me; I’ll keep fighting for every moment of warm sun and pleasure that comes until the frozen-solid ground and freezing temperatures win the battle.