The First Leaf

The First of Many

A few days ago, I noticed a red leaf on my lawn. For crying out loud, I’ve just gotten used to cutting the damn grass every week. Since we’re heading into late August / early September, seeing leaves dropping this early tends to mean we’re in for a pre-fall cooldown. Which I’m sure will be great news for all those kids who have been practicing football and soccer in the scorching summer heat. Temperature-wise, we are heading into an extended downturn of highs in the upper 70s. Warm days, followed by cool comfortable nights in the 50s. Sleeping heaven.

My love affair with fall is only exceeded by my love affair with Christmas. However this year, I’ve decided to give fall the attention it deserves. We generally don’t go overboard with decorations, but this year I really want to make Halloween special. Probably like most people, I have a tendency to gloss over the fall season, in preparation for the Christmas chaos. The website Organized Home, doesn’t even have a Halloween Countdown Checklist, which is pretty surprising. Unlike Christmas, I generally just (bat) wing it for Halloween. However, this year I thought might be a good idea to develop a checklist, to make my spooky preparations a little less hectic.

The other night, I ran up to my local Big Lots just before closing. After I hustled through the wide-open doors, I noticed a very realistic Halloween bat decoration flying around the store. Then I realized that was no decoration, he was the real deal. Vlad was pretty large, as bats go, and he even had the white chest markings. So it was pretty easy to picture him transforming into a guy in a black tuxedo, slicked-back hair, and a pointy overbite.

The store clerks and I tried to shoo him out the open doors, with no success. So I headed to the audio section of the store, to pick up a new set of earbuds. On the way back, Vlad came swooping at me from the Halloween aisle! No lie. If he’s getting into the Halloween spirit a little early, who am I to argue? Crack open the hot cider and grab me a tasty donut. The fall colors are coming soon to a neighborhood near you. 

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Back to School

The Party’s Over Kids!

The time has come. The chorus of morning birdsong has fallen to a whisper. The air is turning cooler (eventually) and there’s morning dew on the grass. It can only mean one thing. Fall is finally here (unofficially). I know the actual date is weeks away and it’s still 90 flipping degrees outside. However, I have always believed that fall begins the day after Labor Day. When the air becomes filled with the sounds of neighborhood rugrats, emerging from their summer cocoons, and getting their little butts back to school.

For me, there is nothing more enjoyable than walking my dog on a crisp autumn morning and listening to the kids laughing and playing on the playground. Actually, a moment like that is what inspired me to write this blog. Hearing those sounds takes me back to when my own sons were running around that same playground. I used to work afternoons, so most of the after-school activities were handled by my wife. I handled the day shift. I got the boys out the door on time (most of the time), and dropped off their lunches and homework when they inevitably forgot them. Thinking of those days brings a tear to my eye, now that my boys are 29 and 25 respectively.

Back in the olden days, before dads got dragged into daily school activities, I was a Trailblazer. From the moment my oldest son Jeffrey started nursery school, the group of parents dropping off their kids were known as, Mr. Lambert and the Rest of the Moms. Eventually, as years passed, more dads got into the mix. However, for a long time, it was just me and the moms. Maybe that’s why I have such a strong reaction to hearing the kids on the playground. It takes me back to my son Kevin, being greeted by his friends like Norm from Cheers! (KEVIN!) Enjoy your playtime kids. Before you know it, you’ll be in your 30s and dropping off your own kids. As I said, enjoy it while you can.

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