Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Waiting for a Dark, Dreary November

I was busy building a pile of books and magazines on the corner of the living room table the other day when the wife stopped me and asked me what I was doing.

"I'm getting ready for November," I said.

"What does that mean?" she asked.

"I'm getting some reading material together so that when this horrible summer ends, I'll be ready to sit here and look up from my reading at the gray and rainy golf course," I answered.  "Then I'll be happy."

"You're goofy!"  my wife, a clutter-hater and summer lover, said.  "You're not going to leave that stuff sitting on that table till November, Buddy-Boy.  Stick it in the closet or put it in the basement.  Besides, you always used to like summer."

Not after this year.  I hate this Arizona-like summer!

When we were kids, my brother and I used to laugh at my mom because she loved cold, dark, and rainy November days.  And snowy December or January days were even better for her.  My brother Bob and I were both summer lovers.  There were kids all over our neighborhood in the 50's, and we could play baseball all day long.  We lived only two blocks from Crystal Lake so Bob and I could swim or fish whenever we wanted.  We used to sleep out in tents with our buddies and go down to the lake in the middle of the night and skinny dip.  Summer was our favorite season by FAR!

Not any more.

I've been out of school since May 1st, and every morning I get up and peek out the crack in the corner of the venetian blinds and see that sliver of sun coming through.  "Crap, another sunny, hot day," I think to myself.  The wife, a former life guard, loves it.  "Let's play golf," she says.  When I make an excuse why I don't want to play golf (allergies always works), she says, "I'm going out and weed and get some sun."

And off she goes.

I look longingly at the roll of aluminum foil sitting on the counter and contemplate covering the windows to keep out the sunlight like I used to do in college when I could actually sleep until noon.

I guess my mother's Irish ancestry has been passed on to me at the advanced age of 64.  My mom used to sit in our living room in this rust colored chair that was comfortable but terribly worn.  She had the chair situated so that she could look out the picture window at the front of our house.  On a dark and dank November day when she didn't have to teach school, Mom would exile my brother and me to the TV room in the basement, send my dad off to work, and then grab her cup of coffee and cigarettes and set up shop in the rust chair.

My brother and I thought she was nuts.

When I was teaching at Fremd High School, I would call my mom every night and ask her how her day went.  "Oh, it was lovely," she'd say on a particularly snowy day when it took me two hours to drive to school.  "I sat in the chair and watched the snow come down and the phone never rang.  Mr. Markee got stuck in his driveway and someone came along and got him out.  I had the best day!"  Then she would realize that I had struggled to get to and from work and she would add, "But I was worried about you on the road too."  Yeah sure she was!

In February of 2011, I was teaching at Monmouth College and just barely made it back to Galesburg before the blizzard began on Ground Hog Day.  I stopped at the grocery store and got enough beer and supplies to last me a month and headed home.  The wife was in Chicago so I was alone in the house as the blizzard hit in all its fury.  I set up a spot at the end of the couch and had a great view of the golf course piling up with snow.  The wind was so strong that the house was shaking as I watched the bird house in my neighbors' yard move back and forth like a crazy pendulum from a Poe story.

I felt like I was in heaven!

This summer has me longing for November--or December--or January and even Feburary.  The wife and I played in a golf tournament yesterday, and I was so hot afterward that I thought I was going to faint.  Plus, the dinner was in a tent set up on an asphalt parking lot.  Man, was it hot!  The wife was sitting there jabbering away, drinking beer, and having the time of her life, and all I could think was "November, please come."

Colonel Palmer House in Crystal Lake
My brother Bob feels my pain.  A few weeks ago we were talking on the phone about the Colonel Palmer house in Crystal Lake, which is an 1858 farm house and the home of the Crystal Lake Historical Society.  "Wouldn't it be great to go out there to the Palmer house during a blizzard, watch the snow come down, and see the traffic disappear from Rt. 176," I said to Bob.

There was a long pause, and Bob started laughing.  "You're right, it would be great, just like Mom!" he said.

"You get the beer, and I'll get the pile of books and we'll be ready," I said.

Here's hoping November gets here FAST!

1 comment:

  1. Just remember, Bunky, it was you who bemoaned late February back in '69 and forced Ron and I to accompany you to Puerto Rico! I remember the three of us parked out on some rural road listening to the Doors and wishing so strongly for warm weather! Hey! It's hot and dry and you don't have to mow! What could be better!/Frenchie