Dwindling Summer

The work that has kept me crazy busy finally came to a brief pause; allowing me to catch up on some much needed household tasks. After sending the kids off to school, my attention turned to the bills piling up on my desk. I decided that I might as well sit on the screened porch so I could find some enjoyment in what is always a tedious task.

I piled up my bills, checkbook, calculator, stamps-all of the necessary tools, and balanced a cup of coffee on top. Out on the porch, I was able to spread out on the table in order to get organized. The dog turned in a circle at my feet, and laid down with a sigh. After so many cloudy days, the morning sun was golden and the cool air a welcome relief after the steamy heat.

Taking a minute to relax in my chair with my coffee, I settled back to watch the street. The cans were at the curb and the trashpickers were working both side of the street slowly and methodically checking each can for treasure. They lifted out bags to peer down inside, removed whatever appealed to them, then carefully repacked the unwanted items back in the can-far more neatly than they had been placed the first time. Then each would slowly push his grocery cart to the next house and start the process all over. There was a rhythm to this, and I found myself wondering what they did with the things they kept. I realized that I was day dreaming instead of working so I turned my attention to my own pile.

While writing checks and discarding ads, my neighbor pulled in from preschool drop off. Always cheery, she announced that the baby was asleep and that she intended to read the paper all the way through before starting anything else. When her front door closed, I thought about my own newspaper waiting for me-calling to me-but then remembered that I probably needed to pay the bill for it first. Back to work.

Two doors down, the construction crew started arriving for a renovation in progress. Four young men, all speaking rapid Spanish unload coolers and tools. Their voices echoed in the empty house, their words skipping and jumping. The musical sounds of a spoken foreign language always draw me in, and I found myself listening, although I couldn’t understand a thing.

The dog growled low in her throat to let me know she was on the job and I started. I was dawdling again, doing the very thing I chastise my son for. This would not do, I had too much to accomplish today.

Starting again, I worked my way though the pile. Finally, I just had to seal, stamp and address the envelopes. Almost done, but I was out of coffee; time for a refill. When I came back out, I saw the college kids across the street. Sleepy-eyed with a backpack slung over one shoulder, one sat on the porch swing waiting, while the other went back for some forgotten item. Together they both trudged to their car and off they went, obviously barely making it to the weekend. Been there guys, I feel it for you.

As the dog rolled onto her side to snore, I finished up and finally had a neat stack of envelopes and a balanced checkbook. Drinking the last of my coffee, I watched several energetic ladies walking briskly up the sidewalk, chattering just as quickly as they walked. The remainder of my “to do” list would keep me inside and my conscience nudged me to get started. Regretfully, I piled everything back up, balancing my empty cup on top and took one last look around. Then I shut the door on the beautiful day.


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