So it begins.
Today is the meteorological first day of autumn.
I never heard that before.
A New York weatherman mentioned that June 1st was the meterological first day of summer back on June 1st and yesterday he mentioned that today would be be the first day of autumn.
It’s funny because on June 1st it certainly felt like summer but you would have to be delusional (which I strive fervently to be) to accept that autumn has arrived…especially here in Florida.
But be that as it may autumn apparently is here.
Well, first off, I find myself behind in my duties and chores. I have five cans of Summer Ale that have to be consumed, you would think, in the summer. So, for summer ale purposes and for the purposes of my annual post, The Last Of The Summer Ale, I will continue under my perpetual delusion that summer continues up to the calendar date we have all come to love and accept as the official first date of autumn, or the Autumnal Equinox as it is officially known, which for 2020 is September 22nd.
I know most of you will argue that the seasons change on the 21st of the month but this is 2020 and the leap year started us off on an abysmal journey so why should anything so regular and dependable as the start of spring, summer, fall, and winter be anything else but confusing and contrary to the norm?
BTW (as the kids text) winter starts on December 1st.
With the beginning of September comes Labor Day.
Labor Day was always a special beach day for us in the Hamptons. It was the last official beach day of course because the kids would be going back to school the next day and it would also be the last day for the lifeguards.
So, a representative showing of a typical Newell-Rooney gathering would amass at Ponquogue beach and Eileen would provide snacks, bubbles, and The Big Sandwich on a crusty round loaf of Sullivan Street’s best Italian bread purchased at Sonny’s Market in East Quogue.
It was not unusual for me to sneak in a couple of cold ones which I surreptitiously sipped from a large solo cup to mask the identity of my beverage, beer having been banned for over twenty years. This ruse was taught to me by my able friend PJ with whom I shared many a plastic cupped beer over the years.
We soaked up the sun.
I tossed a frisbee and a football with my kids.
I was in Paradise.
The good thing was I was awake the entire time. I never took it for just another beach day or just another day in a life made up of other days. It was a special day. Every year, though it was a re-run of the year before, it remained a special day and actually aged like fine wine and cheese.
Then, when the beer had been drunk, when the Big Sandwich had be thoroughly relished, and sun was on the wane, at promptly 5:00 PM, the lifeguards blew their whistles for the last time that season and the remaining crowd of beachgoers stood and applauded them like they were rock stars
It was the kind of day that makes you sad but at the same moment carries you through this summer of COVID.
We’re stuck in Florida away from our children and friends and we haven’t been to any beach this summer but those summers and those Labor Days back on Long Island continue to nourish our souls.
We have lost much since those halcyon days on Ponquogue beach. Some friends and family have left us which only inspires appreciation for those who remain and a commitment never to take any of you for granted.
I’ll hoist a couple, or ten, in your honor this weekend, and post them!
Will join you in spirit.
I love this memory as Vinny and I were usually present also. We were the eternal moochers. As I was reading your tribute, I felt the sun’s warmth, the satisfaction of being “part of”, the absorption of a good read, the contentment of loving and being loved, the surety of knowing that the season will begin again the next year(with Vin finagling another beach pass). Thank you for all those years of sharing, laughing, loving!!! I stand and applaud you, Eileen, Mary, Jimmy and the kids…
Miss those day.