I was walking Teddy today when I heard a familiar sound: the local grade school’s bell echoed off the mountain and informed the whole valley that school was back in session. We haven’t heard those bells in a very long time, and I have to say it made me smile.
It just seemed so normal. And because we are having an unusually cool, drizzly summer day, thoughts of fall decorations, Halloween, and painted leaves flashed in my mind. I’m always stern with myself when I do this, and so I self-admonished with There is still a lot of summer left. Remember, September can be really hot.
But still … the first day of the school year. We all remember the smell of the grade school classroom. The aroma of a new box of crayons, new books, folders, and pencils added to the crisp fragrance of new clothes and the sweet smell of classmates. We are surrounded by pristine blackboards with no ghost-writing on them. Their trays are filled with fresh erasers and unbroken chalk. But the best part of this day is the reunions with our friends, some we may not have seen since last June.
Along with all this, new equipment and renewed friendships comes an unknown—a new teacher who we may know only through reputation or not at all. This person will loom large in our lives over the next nine months. So we start slyly assessing and measuring our new instructor. If he or she makes it to the end of the day without their voice climbing the scales, that is a good sign. If they accomplish this while maintaining a modicum of order, the future looks bright …
These memories accompanied me as I turned the corner and Teddy and I started the climb up our hill. Entering the house, I see that John is on his cellphone. He looks up with a mischievous grin and says, “I’m texting Brooke and Jaden.” They are our youngest grandchildren going into grades 12 and 8 respectively. John keeps a careful watch on the school calendar so he can send this traditional text and, although the grandkids groan, I think they really appreciate it.
The text reads, “The fun’s over.”
On the contrary, the fun is just beginning.