I love the fall, but the first hint of its approach always makes me think it's coming too soon, that it can't be the end of summer yet. On top of that, this late August-early September period brings other, more personal transitions.
|Mom in 1937, athletic and single|
For starters, this time of year puts me in mind of my parents, who for many years annually celebrated a raft of early-September birthdays among friends and neighbors with a party that featured lutefisk (that horrendous dish that my mother wouldn't touch) and Swedish meatballs. Happily, one of those friends celebrated her 103rd birthday Friday! Dad would have turned 99 last Thursday, September 4, and Mom would have been 98 today. Their anniversary was August 31, which also turned out to be the day we buried her 34 years ago. My brother Bruce died of a heart attack eight years ago on September 15. Grieving for them is not as sharply painful as it once was, but it seems to drain a lot of energy over a period of a week or two.
|Mom, Dad, me, 1946|
Then, too, it's always a let-down when Saint Paul Saints minor-league baseball season ends, closing out a big chunk of our social life for the year. But about 10 days ago the team played its last game ever at Midway Stadium
, where we've spent 22 memorable seasons. The final game at the old park was surreal and sad.
A new upscale ballpark is being built downtown, in an inconvenient location we fear will not succeed. Worst, there are no provisions for tailgating. The Saints offered a distinctive baseball experience which relied heavily on the camaraderie of sharing food in the parking lot before every game. Current fans overwhelmingly preferred a new park on the existing grounds, but owners and the mayor decided they could find new fans downtown. Time will tell. We are buying season tickets for 2015 and hoping for the best. Last week we were the last to leave the stadium along with Chris and Wendy, who for 22
years have sat two seats away from us. Wendy sobbed the entire night, big tears rolling down her face.
|Dad in 2000, surprised at his own longevity|
Meanwhile we are back to our school-year routine, with two adorable grandkids turning up every morning at 6:45 for breakfast and all the fun we can squeeze in before we drop them at school for their 8:30 start. As much as we enjoy them, it will not surprise you if I say I'm having a little trouble adjusting to the early schedule.
For many months, as we scrambled to finish the book and prepare for the carousel's 100th birthday and do media interviews, we promised ourselves that by mid-August the rush would be over. Certainly, I thought, by early September I'd be rested up and ready to go. I'm not feeling that way, and I'm a little frustrated with that. But this is the start of a new week and I'm promising myself that while naps are still okay (and even decadently wonderful) I need to get moving. There are web sites to update, books to sell, gardens to tend, tap moves to practice, family members with whom to celebrate life.