Time marches on


About a month ago Terry and I were working on some things for the house. As we assembled a shopping list of sorts, it occurred to us that we likely should check out a few stores right away… before the Memorial Day Weekend ended (and with the arrival of Tuesday morning, possibly brought to a close more than a handful of sales).

Since that time, it seems like we might not have been risking all that much with our timing. Mother’s Day becomes Memorial Day… Memorial Day becomes Father’s Day… Father’s Day becomes July 4th… the transition moves right along, with celebrations for each at stores theming things accordingly to unite the holiday with patriotic, motherly, and other assorted discounts.

Days change. Weeks pass. Months move along. Sales continue. Only the theme is different. Time passes in the strangest of ways.

To this day, for me, the year begins at Labor Day.

It’s a school thing. From the nursery school and kindergarten days to the college experience, the year always began right around Labor Day. Absolutely, celebrate the New Year with a school break. Maybe some onion dip. The real change of a year for me always connected with the advancing from one grade to the next. That was a transition. Certainly more of a noticeable transition than going to bed in one year and waking up in the next.

The experiences moved from my own classroom days into driving the kids to school and dropping them off at their dorm rooms.

Seems like a constant cycle of sorts. Whether your experiences of youth being relived in the footsteps of your children or with the turnover of calendar dates. In big ways and small, time moves along, and the more things change… well… you know.

A few years ago, I was prepping to head outside and put up a snow fence for the first time. I had the fencing but wanted to get a few posts. Nothing for permanent installation, but the heavier of versions that I have seen called u-post and t-post styles. Something that could handle a heavy fence and strong winds during a cold and blustery winter run.

I walked into my neighborhood location of a national chain store and couldn’t find the posts. So, I asked. Turns out that such fence posts are considered a seasonal item. Spring-summer seasonal. Not November seasonal.

Didn’t matter that dozens and dozens of my neighbors put up similar winter fencing with similar posts every year in November. And, it was explained to me, the store would get in trouble with the corporate office for wasting inventory storage space on what had been identified as a seasonal item.

This wasn’t the only store that provided such an answer.

This serves for me as just one of many perfect examples for why time makes no sense.

Do you use things for reasons far beyond what they are normally paired with? Here’s what I mean… I usually bring a snow shovel out with me when I’m raking leaves. One of those toward the inexpensive, flat surface snow shovels. Turns out, while lacking a bit in several ways as a snow tool, it’s perfect in a dust-pan kind of way. Use it with the rake, scoop into a wheelbarrow, done.

How many days in how many years have I actually spent raking leaves? Seems like dozens upon dozens upon hundreds. At my childhood home. At my grandparents’ houses. At my homes. But it really wouldn’t be more than a handful each year. It definitely isn’t the thousands of days it feels like.

There are a variety of reasons why I look toward the calendar. I may not have to check it out for school schedules these days. I do consider when to plant the garden and if it’s time to break out the snow fence. But the weirdest part of all is how time stands still and flies by at the same time. It’s like being in a car on the highway… with some things seeming perfectly still while the miles are quickly chewed up and put in the rearview mirror.

I may not enjoy breaking out the rake and shovel. I definitely need to learn to appreciate it a bit more when I do.


If you have any comments or questions, please e-mail me at Bob@inmybackpack.com