As I write tonight, we are on the eve of the Labor Day Holiday. For me, rightly or wrongly, this is one of the key pillars of the annual calendar.
Although officially Summer does not end, and Fall does not begin, until September 22, for me Labor Day Monday is my unofficial last day of Summer freedom. The closing of one chapter of the year ~ and the beginning of the next.
Yes, I know that for many, school officially started well before Labor Day. I, for one, never observed as legitimate any schooling conducted prior to Labor Day. I viewed such “Pre-Labor Day Forced Schooling” as an intrusion on my well-deserved juvenile Summer vacations.
Perhaps this explains a great deal about my many “issues.” For example, since I refused to pay attention or study for any assignment prior to Labor Day, I always started the academic year “In the Hole.” I spent the rest of the Fall semester always trying to dig out from my self-dug, Pre-Labor Day “Academic Hole.”
Looking back to junior and high school years, I can now see virtually all my juvenile delinquency incidents ~ (which I now label as “slight misunderstandings between myself and the “fine Officers of the Salina Police Patrol”) occurred during these awkward two weeks between when school “actually” started and the Tuesday after Labor Day ~ when I personally deemed it to officially start.
The above delinquency incidents, in turn, I now realize were highly correlated to frustration stemming from the inevitable housekeeping endings of juvenile Summer romances ~ always involuntarily on my part. (Apparently, the once sought Summer lifeguard credentials expire and are quickly discarded by coeds in the High School hallways of a new academic year – only to be replaced by the announcement of new football captains).
Further, in college, the official fraternity pledgeship training did not commence until after Labor Day (at least back then).
As a freshman, I enjoyed a few weeks of naïve thinking that I’d instantly enjoy the benefits and privileges of being treated as a full active fraternity member as envisioned during my recruitment.
This naïve thinking lasted until one fateful Tuesday night following Labor Day when they hauled me into a room and explained my pledgeship was just now beginning ~ and I was in serious need of a “significant attitude adjustment” and “educational inspiration program” prior to my becoming a full fraternity member ~ which they gleefully proclaimed I should not anticipate ending until late in the Spring Semester.
College swimming was the same. Prior to Labor Day, we really didn’t have any serious practices. I gleefully told everyone I was an incoming college swimmer ~ until Tuesday following Labor Day when the reality of two-a-day “nightmare practices” commenced.
As a result, the Tuesday following Labor Day has always, for me, carried a certain sense of dread. My naive Summer optimism always comes to a “hard close” on this annual Tuesday.
This carried on in my professional career. When working on Capitol Hill, Congress always adjourned for a month-long, leisurely “August Recess.” The leisure of the August Congressional Recess was graphically gaveled away when the Senate Majority Leader banged in the start of the new Autumn Congressional Session ~ every Tuesday following Labor Day.
With this dreaded annual Tuesday on the horizon, I must admit,
I’ve always mentally coasted the last few weeks of August and the first non-holiday week of September.
College football games may be played ~ but I don’t count them. Baseball may be played ~ but unless the Royals are in the hunt, I am not really following. During this Pre-Labor Day coast, I pull out the last of my Summer business suits and try to wear them to very end ~ often dragging ones from the closet which should have been long-retired ~ for age and fit.
Now on each Tuesday following Labor Day, inspired by ghosts of my past, I find myself needing to sober up from my summer naiveté, catalogue and file into the memories box the past Summer’s experiences, put on the game face, and mentally prepare for the mad Autumn dash to the Holiday Season.
I awake on this dreaded Tuesday staring down the “calendar gun barrel” into the reality of long-looming business deals needing to be closed prior to the Winter Holiday Season.
Simultaneously, I confront the fact the time left to achieve year-long strategic initiatives, happily approved back in January, is rapidly shrinking.
I come to terms with the fact the numerous back-to-school traffic backups throughout Prairie Village, are not just a quaint anomaly, but now a daily contention for which I must readjust my school year commuting schedule.
In short, the heart quickens, the mind focuses, and it becomes patently obvious the once abundant and promising “2021 Hourglass” is swiftly draining of sand. Suddenly my “Must-Do-By-Year-End Check List” starts flashing red, and its print becomes larger and bolder.
Yes, I am sure all this is just in my mind. A good therapist would probably opine it ties back to my experiences of sitting in front of a police desk, or recalling the fraternity “new pledge” night, or the shrill of our swimming coach’s insistent whistle, or the echoes of the Senate Speaker’s gavel.
Whatever the source, the Tuesday after Labor Day, always awakens me with the ringing sound of the “last lap bell”, to remind me it’s time to kick it into full gear if I want to finish the race with the “Must-Do-By-Year-End Checklist.”
The challenge of this final year-end lap is maintaining focus. For good or bad, this last lap push to completion is full of wonderful distractions to lead one astray from fulfillment.
Did I mention college football? Tailgates, Halloween Parties, Oktoberfest, Hunting Season, Fall Foliage, the Chilly Sweater weather, the Thanksgiving bustle, the first snowflakes of the year, and of course, the preparations for the Holiday Season?
Together, let’s get ready to sharpen our focus, put on the Fall tweed jackets, pull out the woolen sweaters, dig out the tailgating tables, buckle down at the office and in the classroom ~ and ready ourselves to answer the final lap bell of the 2021 Year-End.
Remember ~ blessedly this Fall we won’t have to endure the unceasing national political commercials that commandeered all the air/cable waves a year ago ~ and only added misery to last year’s COVID Season.
Yours in together preparing for waking up on the Tuesday after Labor Day ready to answer the “Final Lap” of the “Year End Bell” ~ all while enjoying the brilliant colors of the coming Autumn Foliage. ~Surely with all the rain of this past Spring and Summer our leaves this Autumn will be both extraordinary and gorgeous ~ Dan Bolen
~Thank you for giving us this opportunity to be your bank and bankers~
“The Bank of Prairie Village ~ Home of Blue Lion Banking”~ cited March 2020 and~ again in April 2021 by the Kansas City Business Journal as one of the “Safest Banks in Kansas City for Your Money.”
Our Outside Deposit Drop Vault is located on the south rear side our building and underneath our jutting Blue Lion sign. ~ Now Located on newly named “Fox Lane”.
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