Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Welcoming the end of summer with open, itchy arms

By Karrie McAllister

My son was attacked this week. His tiny body, weighing in at a mighty 32 pounds was no match for what he was up against.
It took just a few short minutes of his innocence, and he’s got battle scars all over his forehead, arms, and legs. I have to apply medication constantly.
Anti-itch, medication, that is. Mosquitoes. He’s got a bite the size of Rhode Island that looks like a second brain growing above his right eye, and an unknowing person might swear that he’s got the chicken pox.
Meanwhile, despite the fact that I am equipped with a super-sensitive poison ivy radar and can spot the three-leaved foe faster than you can say “Calamine Lotion,” I somehow ended up with a cute late-summer rash on my legs.
Keeping all of these things in mind, it is no surprise that my family and I have taken to chanting and cheering, “WE WANT FALL!”
We love fall around here. It is, by far, our favorite season. We love it all: the leaf raking, the football games, the apple cider, pumpkins, and yes, even hunting season. The crisp mornings and chilly evenings that make us all declare it is undoubtedly “soup weather.”
But for all of the positives that come with autumn, there are extra benefits to the end of summer.
That’s right, all of the things that we crave during the spring somehow grate on our very last nerves come September. In April, when we’re dreaming of wearing shorts and t-shirts, in September we’re anxious to break out the long pants and sweaters. While we were once counting the days to sprinklers and swimming, now I’m counting the days until the Slip and Slide scar on my lawn heals. In spring, I long for the smell of bug repellent and sunscreen, and now I’d like to be able to walk outside without smelling like a tropical breeze or a coconut. And while I used to dream about thick woodland foliage in my backyard, now I just want the poison ivy to die off for the year so I don’t have to tip-toe around my own house.
It’s not only that, but by mid-September, I’ve officially had my fill of summer food. I love a good grill-out as much as the next person, but a girl can only eat so many hamburgers and hotdogs. Not to mention that if I eat one more version of potato salad, I think I may start to sprout actual potatoes from my ears.
I’m tired, too, of summer footwear. The convenience of flip-flops wears off when I realize, for the millionth time, that my toe nails need a little TLC. I’m ready for shoes and socks, boots and slippers. If no one sees my toes for a few months, I’ll be all the happier.
So it is with great pleasure that I welcome fall to our quaint Northeast Ohio home. The change of season makes this part of the world an ever sweeter place to live. My family has really enjoyed our summer, but we’re ready to pack it away.
We’re ready for that first hard frost that sends our little skeeter friends away for the winter, giving our bitten up legs a chance to heal. We’re ready to trade in our corn skewers for hot chocolate mugs. We’re ready for the day lilies to wilt away and the mums to provide us with their magnificent color.
Bring it on. Bring it all on. We are ready and waiting to enjoy every day of colored leaves and cool temperatures. We need to, because soon enough, the mums will die off and we’ll be trading our leaf rakes for those snow shovels we’ve been waiting to dust off.

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