As the year is now in its final quarter and we utter those so familiar words of this time of year, "Where has the year gone," I look forward to enjoying my favorite time of the year.
Please don't get me wrong. I love the spring and all that it brings with it. It marks the end of the probably way too long winter and thoughts of the hassles of winter driving, snow blowing in too-cold conditions, and that oh-so-cold linoleum bathroom floor in the morning. It marks the beginning of new outdoor life, a new baseball and softball season, the return of some warmer temperatures, and Mother Nature's repainting of my lawn green from its ever-so-long bland white hue which we have looked at for so long.
I also enjoy the summer very much. I like food cooked on the grill, I like the sunshine and warm weather, though I can do without the 90-degree temperatures with which we have been "blessed" often over the past few years (thank God for AC). I love going to summer baseball games. Our Indians seats are in the shade, but it still gets quite hot for many of the games.
J. Paul Lombardo
Often times, we take in a summer concert or two, where we often sit on the lawns of the venues and take part in the pre-concert festivities if there are any, and enjoy the outdoors. We enjoy camping but haven't done much over the past few years, but we do enjoy going up to Barcelona on summer evenings, watching the sunset and then making a fire on the beach, enjoying a cup of coffee which we make over that fire, and listening to the water hit the shore and just escape the real world for a bit.
I like walking, but again, often times it is cooler on our home treadmill with its built in fan and the fan blowing around me in our home exercise room, and I love driving in the summertime.
This past summer we took a couple of mini-jaunts, one to Tennessee to see our daughter and her family, a couple of real short ones to Pennsylvania for our grandson's graduation and graduation party, and one to Virginia to visit Jon and Sarah. We encountered no whiteouts, slippery roads or poor visibility conditions on any of those trips.
Voice From The Bullpen
I used to like winter more than I do now, though, there are a few things I like about it, but find it to be way too long and way too cold. I love seeing the first snowfall, probably more now because it doesn't stick to the ground and I don't have to snow blow it. I like seeing ice form on the tips of branches and then seeing them glisten in the light. I used to enjoy sledding, never got into skiing, not an ice skater, I do like tubing when I get the chance to do that, but it's not very often, so winter was more of a big deal when I was younger, but now it's a pain for driving, clearing the walkway and driveway, and staying warm.
And that brings me to the autumn of the year. I like "jacket" weather, not parka, gloves, earmuffs, boots and scarf weather, but jacket weather. I like going to a football game on a Friday night and having a cup of coffee just to put an edge on the cool air. I love fall baseball, especially if my Tribe is involved, which isn't often, but this year September was still exciting for the friends of the Cuyahoga.
I love the changing of colors of the trees and the beautiful mural of life that Mother Nature paints every year.
I love football, though not quite as much as baseball, and enjoy following my favorite teams, of course the Browns, and Notre Dame, Ohio State, and I enjoy going to watch a high school game from time to time.
I love the fall when my beautiful partner in life, starts to prepare, what I call, her Fall Menu of Hearty Meals like homemade soups, chili, gumbo, jambalaya, and of course pasta dishes, all of these at which she excels. I like the smells and tastes of the holiday foods that seem to be regulars in the fall, things like pumpkin and apple pies, turkey, squash, homemade applesauce, and of course all the foods mentioned earlier.
The aromas of these foods serve as the air fresheners of the season and permeate throughout the house during the fall.
Maybe I like the fall most though, now, because it reminds me that I might be in the fall of my life.
I've been privileged to have lived a good life, and hopefully, I'll be able to live through a long, long winter of my life as well.
I've known so many wonderful people in my life whom I can call special.
I've had many opportunities which I cherish. I've been blessed being able to work in, what I call, the greatest profession in the world. I've been able to coach and officiate in sports that I love so much. I've been able to write, and have been given opportunities and avenues with which to share those writings. I enjoy writing so much and having it printed makes me very proud. I've seen many places, and hope to see more. I've been able to serve groups in many different capacities, as a volunteer, officer, speaker, and more, all opportunities and honors given to me by others and I'm eternally grateful.
So as the winter of my life draws closer, and it gets a little bit colder, and I get a little bit older, it might get a little tougher to figuratively shovel and snow blow, and the air may symbolically become a little chillier, but I will be grateful to be able to still see the snow and feel the cold.
I think if you're lucky enough to live through the yearly four seasons, it makes you grateful to have had the opportunities to have seen and done what we have, at least it does for me. I hope we all can see that throughout however many of the seasons we spend on this earth, our lives have encountered storms, cold temperatures, and some harshness, but there has been so much more warmth, beauty, and serenity to look back on and appreciate.