Sunday, May 20, 2007

It's the Merry, Memorable Month of May

As a kid, I looked forward to the month of May. I had two reasons to love May. First of all, it meant that summer vacation was just around the corner. Secondly, my birthday is in May.

After I graduated college, I became a teacher. So the reasons for loving May were still very much present. I didn’t relish my birthday as much as I did when I was young, but it was still fun.

After the first 13 years of teaching, I decided it was time to try something else. And by then, birthdays meant little more than that I was a year older. So without the summer break, and with birthdays becoming more annoyance than revelry, May lost its luster.

Despite the coming vacation and my birthday, springtime was never really my favorite time of year. I don’t really know why. I never did like thunderstorms very well, and there are more of them in the spring. I never did like hot weather very much and springtime is the vanguard of the heat and humidity to come.

Aside for the weather, springtime also didn’t have that wonderful feeling of hominess I got in the fall. Fall is the holiday season. As a kid, I loved Halloween. Later, I liked the beauty of the fall foliage, the pumpkins, and the whole idea of harvest. Although I was never a farmer, I looked forward to fall because it meant the fields were about to bear fruit, and a feeling of bounty was always in the air.

In addition, Thanksgiving is in the fall and it is the harbinger of that most wonderful season of year, Christmas. So with the crisp, clear skies, cooling atmosphere, colorful leaves, holidays, and a cozy, homey feeling, the autumn has always been my favorite time of year, despite the fact that it also meant that school had started again.

But even the displeasure of having to start another school year was mitigated by the fact that it was a different school year, not the same one. It meant new teachers (or new students once I became a teacher), and a whole new beginning.

Still, no matter how good the beginning, it was always nice to know the school year was winding down. And, thus, May became a favorite month, too. As a kid, it meant endless hours of playing and watching TV. As a teacher, it means no more lesson plans or bratty underachievers. It also means lots of free time.

When some people retire, the first thing they do is find themselves a part-time job. My mom is in that category. She lives to work. On the other hand, I was born to be retired. And for a teacher who chooses not to teach summer school or get a summer job, the two-and-a-half months of summer break is a good indication of what retirement might be like.

If it were not for those annoying birthdays that must come between now and the time I retire, I would wish for it to come early. In the mean time, I’ll just enjoy looking forward to May and to my summers off.

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