Tomorrow is the first day of October, a month I have come to dearly love the older I get. My Uncle Mark who, like most of our family, finds humor and fun in the most mundane of matters, always calls my mother on the first day of what he calls "a hint of a nip." This is the day when there is a nip of fall in the air. Now don't go crazy, this doesn't mean one is ready to break out the pumpkin spice latte just yet, which by the way, has the world gone crazy over pumpkin spice, or is it just my imagination? No kidding, I think I saw pumpkin spice Charmin on an end cap at Publix the other day. The world has gone mad for pumpkin or at least marketers have.
A hint of a nip is just what it sounds like. It's a faint whisper that cooler weather is coming, we managed to survive hurricane season, and the holidays are right around the corner if we can hang in there for a bit longer. I love the idea that my uncle calls on this day because we never know when the call will come. How could we know when the calendar does not dictate the call? Sometimes we have gotten "the hint of the nip" call as late as November. Remember this is the South where we wear flip flops on Christmas Day, so there really is no predictability to "the call."
What I love most about the anticipated ring, apart from hearing my uncle's voice, is that it ushers in an sense of excitement, an expectancy that something is brewing (besides a good cup of Joe) if we will only take the time to stop and notice what nature in her infinite mercy is gift wrapping especially for us.
I don't always succeed, but I try to live my life with the same philosophy of my mom and her siblings- the philosophy that says we don't have to take a European vacation to have a good time. No, a grocery store, a long car ride, a trip to the ballpark, or even a classroom will do just fine. Maybe this spontaneity comes from never having had a European vacation or much of anything for that matter. Growing up, what we lacked in luxuries, we most certainly compensated for with imagination and experience. It was enough. It is still enough.
We talked and laughed until we could not breathe. We told stories on front porch swings buckling from humidity or stained kitchen countertops until the wee hours of the morning. The setting did not matter, just that we were together. It is a culture that I am fearful may quickly become extinct, like dinosaurs - a mere thing of the past. It is a culture I want to revive in my own classroom, one that says, "We are here together, fully together, and that is enough."
August is done, September is closing her eyelids for the night, but October, sweet October, you are a reminder that this group, this year, is waking up, that there is a hint of a nip that something exciting will happen this year. Today, I am taking the time to notice the possibility of finding adventure in the most mundane of tasks.
Is it possible to have a good time when reviewing elements of fiction from a stale powerpoint? I submit to you that anything is possible when you are in the right family. I am so glad each of you are in my family this year and that our home in Room 613, as humble as it may be, is a place where we are free to be ourselves, laugh uncontrollably, tell stories from stained counter tops, and yes, maybe soon (but not too soon) even break out the pumpkin lattes.
Waiting for the call,