JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: This weekend marks the official end of summer here in the US. Grade schools and high schools have already started, although many, like Youngest, had an easy first week, with classes only on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. The college students who haven't already arrived on campus are moving in this weekend, and everyone whose office had summer flexible Friday hours will have to go back to the regular schedule next week.
Here in Maine, the temperature is already starting to lower, with more days only getting to a high in the seventies, and more nights in the fifties. It often feels as if a celestial switch gets turned on around the Forth of July and turned off right after Labor Day. What was left undone - a float down the Saco River, building a firepit - must stay undone until next summer.
I was having these somewhat melancholy thoughts because I was making my favorite late-summer treat, an open-faced tomato sandwich with Miracle Whip. What epitomizes the transient joys of summer like a home grown tomato? Our neighboring farm is bursting with them, and they let me take the ones that aren't pretty enough to sell at market, so I am gorging on panzanella, insalata caprese, crostini and good old American tomato sammiches. Of all the pleasures of summer, I will miss these tomatoes most of all.
How about you, Reds? What do you hate to say good-bye to this weekend?
RHYS BOWEN: Wearing white! Officially it is socially unacceptable to wear white after Labor Day, so I'm told. But it's my favorite color and it looks good on me, and it will stay hot in California for at least another two months, so I'm going to defy convention and keep wearing it.
Foodwise I adore cherries and this year has been a really long season for them. And local peaches and plums. And sitting outside on my balcony as the wind comes in from the ocean and cools things down and the lights go on in the valley below. But of course I cheat: when it gets cold and wet in California, I fly south with the birds and spend the winter in Arizona. A wimp, I know.
HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: There's something slower about summer, even though my life and responsibilities are exactly the same. I love to take walks during the day, see how beautiful the world is..it's also great in the fall, thought, and spring. Sitting outside in our backyard by the pool, and floating on the air mattress things, and cooking out. Love that. That the daylight lasts longer. And in Boston, there's much less traffic (unless you are driving to the Cape between Thursday afternoon and Friday night, or returning on Sunday. NIGHTMARE. And gosh, I love tomatoes.
LUCY BURDETTE: Cherries, peaches and blueberries at their peak--I will sure miss them. And once John beat back the onslaught of woodchucks, our garden has been amazing. We've been giving away gorgeous tomatoes left and right, and our neighbors run when we bear down on them with zucchini... But fall is nice too--no humidity, and the dog is willing to walk much further. And like Rhys, we flee when it gets too chilly! Already thinking about my friends in Key West:).
SUSAN ELIA MACNEAL: Will miss tomatoes, corn, peaches, all of the daylight, fireflies, cookouts, roasted marshmallows, walking around without a jacket.... But I'm not going to miss the heat. Also, as everyone with a kid still in school knows — it's time for the little darlings to go back.
JULIA: Oh, yes, Susan. As the advert says, "It's the most wonderful time of the year..."
HALLIE EPHRON: I won't miss the ants, but I will so miss the flicker (a great big woodpecker) who visits our stone patio to drill between the stones for them. I'll miss the huge pot of fresh basil on my back steps that I can squeeze-and-sniff for a shot of summer. Also the peaches a plums. They've been amazing this year.
DEBORAH CROMBIE: Don't talk to me about ants. I stepped in huge fire ant mound a couple of weeks ago. Ack. So I won't miss them, or the mosquitoes. It was so hot here into mid-August, and I was so busy with the book that I really feel like I missed summer this year. I am enjoying the last of the tomatoes. And basil!! I know we can buy fresh in the supermarket all year these days, but it's not the same as walking out on my deck and picking handfuls. And I will really miss the blueberries. Otherwise I'm looking forward to fall and being able to enjoy being outside again.
HANK: ANTS! Argh. we had the TEENY, almost invisible ones (I looked them up, pharaoh ants) all over our counter for one day. Just one day! Apparently the ants are freaking out with the drought,and looking for water. I felt bad for them.
JULIA: Debs, you and I are climate opposites - I love fall, but I know it means my time outdoors is limited because... No, I won't say it. Not yet. Dear readers, what are you going to miss about summer? And are you doing anything to say farewell this weekend?