Summer begins -- 06/21/10

When does summer begin?

Sometimes it seemed as if it began with Memorial Day.

When I was a kid it was still commonly called Decoration Day and it always fell on May 30th. It wasn't until 1968 that Congress, in its infinite patriotic wisdom, decreed that henceforth Decoration Day would be known as Memorial Day and it would be celebrated on the last Monday in May, thus giving voters a three day weekend without it costing Congress anything.

Anyway, when I was a kid we used to go to watch the big parade -- high school marching bands from many nearby towns, patriotic-theme floats, various color guard marching units (National Guard, Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force), veteran's groups (Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion) -- as a kid I especially loved seeing the 48 and 8 Society with their mockup locomotive (mounted on a truck body) towing a box car float (as I got older I began to realize that some of those happy middle-aged veterans progressing into respectable senior citizen status save for this annual revisitation to their youth may have had a drink or three before the parade and were perhaps passing a flask around on the float) [
note to younger readers: in the First World War many U.S. troops in France were transported to the front lines in box cars that were marked as capable of holding 40 Hommes/8 Chevaux (that is 40 men or 8 horses) and a group of WWI vets organized a fraternity called La Société des Quarante Hommes et Huit Chevaux], politicians strolling along waving to the crowd, convertibles with their tops down carrying elderly veterans of the Spanish-American War smiling and waving to the cheering crowds (fewer every year, and then just one...), boy scout troops, girl scout troops, fire trucks and police cars both from within the city (Kingston, NY) and from surrounding towns, and coming last (for obvious reasons) horses and riders.

In my memory (although I may merely have forgotten cold and rainy ones) Decoration Day was always bright and sunny and warm verging on hot. We would go to watch the parade -- always in the same area on Broadway on the sloping lawn in front of the City Hall (the old City Hall, now downgraded to "city offices") with the high school on the opposite side of the street -- and it seems as if every year when the parade ended my mother would say "Well, I guess it's summer now."

Except, of course, to a kid that was not true at all because school would still be in session for probably another three and a half weeks.

That is when summer truly begins for a child...

Today is the day that the calendar says marks the beginning of summer.

Of course that always struck me as peculiar that the longest day/shortest night comes at the beginning of summer and that for the next six months the days will keep getting shorter and the night will keep getting longer... Ah well...

In our house summer begins this Friday. What's that you say? Yes, you are quite correct, Thursday is the last day of the school year at Nancy's school.

After breakfast I came into my office at about quarter past seven to sit down at my desk... but the summer solstice morning sun was aiming a bright beam of sunlight at the floor... and Tiger likes to stretch out in a pool of sunlight. So what could I do? First, I grabbed my camera and took a picture... then I picked up the laptop (with wireless connection) and went out on our back deck and worked on the table out there for half an hour or so and when I needed another cup of coffee I checked my office and found he had relocated his morning nap to a different area so I was able to come back into my office to work at my desk.

Jill's Road Trip Report: nothing to report -- she tends to call in the evening and right now it is only mid-afternoon on the west coast so she is probably still out playing tourist.

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