Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By A. R. Vander Vegt
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

School supplies?

From the Editor


August 9, 2018

"Don't you love New York in the fall? It makes me want to buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address."

Moose Lake isn't New York City, but the same sentiment applies. The quote is from Nora Ephron's "You've Got Mail," starring Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks - one of my go-to movies.

Tom Hanks writes these brilliant lines to Meg Ryan via email. Somehow I know exactly what he's talking about. There is something about autumn that makes me want to be back in the frame of mind of going to school once again. There is a certain smell of newly sharpened pencils - Ticonderoga in particular - that's just happy. I picture bulky sweaters and skirts with dark nylons and a pair of closed-toe shoes, doodling in the corners of all my notebooks and writing down funny things I hear people say.

On page six of this paper, school supplies are listed for the elementary grades in the local schools. I can hardly believe it's that time already. Despite my affinity for school supplies (composition notebooks, too, are a delight to behold), there is an ugh-factor that comes along with seeing Back to School sales and advertisements.

I read an op-ed in the Star Tribune once entitled "A summer break that lasts all summer," or something to that effect. It was written by a beleaguered dad who was asking why we always have to rush into the next season so soon after one has hardly begun. Back to school paraphernalia seems to pop up sooner and sooner as each year passes.

I sympathize with the writer. As much as some get annoyed with seeing Christmas decorations out before Thanksgiving, I would get irritated with the premature reminders that school was only a short time away.

Yet here I am, publishing a list of school supplies three weeks before open house and three and half weeks before school even begins. Arguably, if something is only less than a month away, it's probably high time to begin considering what is needed to make sure you're ready when the time really arrives.

Sunflowers are blooming in my garden, and the pumpkins are turning to a shade closer to orange than green. Even the weather has been suspiciously autumn-like. Cool nights, warmer days, albeit rather breezy. A family member forced me to try one of their apples growing on a tree the other day. It was tart, but the coloring on it is gorgeous and hints at future days when it will be ready and good for eating.

All these clues are adding up to one thing: fall is really right around the bend. A part of me feels I haven't done enough eating of watermelon and corn on the cob for that to be true. Another part of me, though, does want to buy school supplies just to be caught up in the season's change. Unexpectedly, my mind starts drifting towards leaves edged with red and orange and quieter nights spent inside with a cup of hot chocolate.

And so we all succumb to the change of seasons once again.

I'm still searching for a summer that lasts all summer. I think I got closer this year. Honestly, my time has been filled in such a way that I hardly noticed days passing. That can be taken positively or negatively, but it's just a thing that's happening - I don't really feel one way or the other about it.

But I know it has been good, and will continue to be good. Yes, the sunflowers are blooming, and that means they'll soon be withering, but wasn't it amazing to witness a seed grow into this towering flower?


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