A first-world issue has been bothering me, and it began when I saw a display for Spiced Pumpkin Lattes — in the middle of August. Retailers have sensed our weakness for all things autumnal and know everyone in America is addicted to, and will purchase, anything that smells or tastes like Farmer Brown’s harvest.
By November 1st, half of the PTA and all of the Junior League members will smell like they rolled in cinnamon and rode to the meeting in Cinderella’s spiced-up pumpkin. From the pumpkin tarts on the dessert table to the scented hair gels, body sprays, mints and lip gloss, it’s deliriously magical.
But I repeat . . . August? Can’t we wait a while for the fall frolicking to begin? And don’t forget most of September is technically summer as well, which I’m still treating as such, in case anyone cares. August is the bad girl of the season and gives summer a terrible reputation. While the mosquito is featured as Pet of the Month and TV reporters fry eggs on sidewalks, there are a few of us who still celebrate the long sunny days and rumblings of a good summer thunderstorm.
We want to blame the retailers for rushing things, but they’re only reacting to the demands of the customers, so the obvious path of investigation leads me to this; which one of you is hanging your fall wreath while there’s still laundry on the floor from summer camp? None of my friends will admit to buying plastic pumpkins this time of year but someone has to be guilty.
“It’s probably the same people who wear white shoes before Easter” Fancy Faye told me. “They’re always rushing things and don’t understand that some rules exist just for the sake of bringing order to our chaotic world.”
It isn’t that I don’t love the beauty of autumn. Living on the tropical Gulf Coast, I get as excited over a rare orange leaf as if it were snow. It makes me happy to arrange Mr. Scarecrow on the porch and simmer soup on the stove, but is it so wrong to just want seasons to stay in their own compartments? It’s like fall is cutting in line ahead of summer and snatching the last cookie off the table. Shouldn’t someone step in and say something before summer gets its feelings hurt?
Perhaps all of us sane people should make a pact not to purchase or display any holiday items before the proper time. But whose time do we go by? My cousin puts her Christmas tree up at the beginning of November, I prefer to wait until the day after Thanksgiving, but my mother-in-law puts hers up on Christmas Eve. (She and I will discuss which one of us is the saner woman and I’ll let you know how that works out).
it isn’t the hot drinks in August or the dancing Santas in July that bother me as much as what it all represents, which is — moving on. Pushing forward. Leaving today behind for tomorrow. Children growing up, dogs who can no longer climb stairs, another wrinkle showing up on my (friend’s) face. Sure, some changes can be good, but if you’re still savoring this slice of life, why dive in to the next course so soon?
For now, can’t we all enjoy another glass of tart lemonade, relax and enjoy the last few days of summer, then meet again in October for a Spiced Pumpkin Latte? If you promise to wait, it’s a date. And we’ll feel so good knowing we did our part to restore order to our chaotic corner of the world.
This story first appeared on AL.com and The Birmingham News, The Huntsville Times and The Press Register in Mobile, Alabama.