Friday, August 05, 2005

August - time to think about back to school

Track trials
Originally uploaded by Brite Lights photos.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Although the first day of school for me is August 29, already the days seem to be getting shorter (ok, they are shorter, I guess...) and the fall semester at the university looms like a thundercloud.

I remember getting out of school in June (hot-as-hell, usually) and running for the buses in front of SWCS, riding home practically singing.

Summer! An endless vista of boating, sleeping out at night (actually roaming around all night getting into trouble), and best of all NO SCHOOL. No having to roll out to catch a bus, no homework (not that I did any) and no confinement for six or so hours per day.

Those couple of months seemed endless in June, nearly endless in July and a couple of Augusts during high school, I remember being surprised when we suddenly had to find the long pants again and trudge to the bus stop for another go around.

The weather helped though. Labor Day marked the end of summer as the lake temperature usually plummeted right about then. I don't remember ever water skiing in the fall, although I kept boating until early October. But because the summer weather disappeared, sitting in class listening to Pauline Cook, or Byron Windoft or Herr Pfaff seemed less of a shock.

In Sacramento, when I return to school, the weather will be still full-on summer. In fact, it will arguably be much better weather than what the city has had this July (over 100 degrees every day with little relief at night).

The first few days of school also used to mean Coach Flash Olsen catching me in a hallway and asking why I wasn't going out for cross-country to get in shape for wrestling. And when I said I was too busy - or whatever other lame excuse I could find - he would give me that Flash stare and a little shake of his head as he walked away, usually muttering under his breath.

I realize now that besides my general sloth and indolence, I didn't go out for cross-country because I was trying to preserve a little bit of summer during after-school hours. In September and early October it was possible to pretend that summer was still there.

In Sacramento, when I get done teaching, I'll be heading out in my kayak on the American River, trying to hang on to the endless vista the same way.

Today's song? What else would it be?

See You In September
by The Happenings


I'll be alone each and every night
While you're away, don't forget to write

Bye-bye, so long, farewell
Bye-bye, so long

See you in September
See you when the summer's through
Here we are (bye, baby, goodbye)
Saying goodbye at the station (bye, baby, goodbye)
Summer vacation (bye, baby bye, baby)
Is taking you away (bye, baby, goodbye)

Have a good time but remember
There is danger in the summer moon above
Will I see you in September
Or lose you to a summer love
(counting the days 'til I'll be with you)
(counting the hours and the minutes, too)

Bye, baby, goodbye
Bye, baby, goodbye
Bye, baby, goodbye (bye-bye, so long, farewell)
Bye, baby, goodbye (bye-bye, so long)

Have a good time but remember
There is danger in the summer moon above
Will I see you in September
Or lose you to a summer love
(I'll be alone each and every night)
(While you're away, don't forget to write)

See you (bye-bye, so long, farewell)
In September (bye-bye, so long, farewell)
I'm hopin' I'll
See you (bye-bye, so long, farewell)
In September (bye-bye, so long, farewell)
Well, maybe I'll
See you (bye-bye, so long, farewell)
In September (bye-bye, so long, farewell)

Monday, August 01, 2005

When Chautauqua Lake was our playground

LAKEWOOD, New York - The summer here in upstate New York is just like the summers I remember (or think I remember) from high school.

Every day is relatively hot. The water on the lake is calm for water skiing. The nights stay warm enough to go swimming sans bathing attire. And I have a boat to zoom all over the place in.

The only thing missing is my friends on their boats and the rendezvous in front of Maple Bay Marina, or Lakewood Beach, or the point where Mark Swanson lived. Sometimes we went to Bemus Point, especially in the evenings when we had hopes that some teenage girls would be sitting on docks there, vacationing with their parents and bored out of their skulls.

In those years we met some of those young ladies, who unfortunately tended to be even more bored out of their skulls after talking with us for 15 minutes. (Think about the guys from the Anthony Michael Hall movie, Weird Science.)

But our days were devoted to waterskiing, and some of things we did make my knee hurt just thinking about them. For one, we would start sitting on the edge of the dock, sliding off at the last instant as the rope on the boat became taut.

But the best was when you came back in and zipped over to the dock, sliding your skinny butt right back where you started. I used to be able to do it quite well. But last summer my wife nixed the idea when I wanted to try it for old times sake. Considering how racked up I was after skiing for maybe a half-hour, a dock landing might not have been in my best interest.

The other fun thing was to put the rope between your knees if you were on two skis - or to try to get so low on one ski that you were literally running on the edge, not the bottom, of the ski.

That seems to be what the fellow in the photo is doing, seconds before he learns what it feels like to hit the water at 60 mph.


I hope some boat/boating is part of reunion next summer. It wouldn't seem the same without it.

And (provided I can get someone to distract the Admiral) I want to start - and end up - on a nice dry dock, just one more time.

Today's song was an easy one to pick out:

Come On Down To My Boat
(Every Mothers' Son lyrics)

She sits on the dock
A fishin' in the water uh, huh
I don't know her name
She's the fisherman's daughter uh, huh

Come on down to my boat baby
Come on down where we can play
Come on down to my boat baby
Come on down we'll sail away

She smiled so nice
Like she wants to come with me uh, huh
But she's tied to the dock and she can't get free

Come on down to my boat baby
Fish all day sleep all night

Father never lets her out of his sight
Soon I'm gonna have to get my knife
And cut that rope, cut that rope
Then we can go fishin' in my little red boat
Make you happy in my little red boat
So come on down to my boat baby