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School days rolled around later in my day
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I miss the days when school started after Labor Day.

I don’t have kids in school anymore and it has been a long time since I was there myself, but some school systems in our state actually started classes this year in late July.

I’m not saying it is wrong. I just miss the way things used to be.

We used to have revivals in August. We would always have a revival preacher on a flier that would be posted in the windows of the barber and beauty shops, on the door of Hale’s Grocery and other businesses in town. The flier was in black and white and usually featured a picture of the revival preacher holding a really big Bible and pointing at the camera.

It was sort of like those recruiting posters for the military that had a picture of Uncle Sam pointing with the message, “I want you.”

I don’t know if a pointing preacher picture is going to persuade anyone to come to church or not. Folks usually came on the nights when young people were assigned the task of packing a pew. You had to recruit folks who didn’t go to our church to accomplish the assigned task.

But revival was just one part of that final month of summer. We knew the clock was ticking on our final days of carefree living.

In the early days, there was always the summer project, either a fort, a hut or some kind of treehouse that needed to be finished. I don’t know if we ever completed one all the way, but we were busy for a lot of days.

One summer, Sonny Bray and I used his wagon and got into the drink business. We had an assortment of beverages on ice available for sale in front of his house. For the discerning customer, we had Coca-Cola. But for those on a budget, we had no-name store brands of cola and several flavors.

I don’t remember how much money we made, but neither of us chose it as a career.

This was also about the time I convinced my daddy to take me to a pawnshop in Atlanta where I bought a change dispenser that I wore on my belt. This was at the time before self-service gasoline and I thought guys who worked at gas stations and had change dispensers and a wad of bills in their shirt pocket were really cool. I wanted a shirt with my name embroidered over the pocket.

This was also at the time I thought carnival barkers were cool, too. They got to live at the fair and had a pretty decent looking travel trailer.

It wasn’t long before both of the professions lost their luster for me. I’m glad.

August also meant back-to-school shopping. This was a ritual that included a new pair of tennis shoes, usually high-tops, and a few pairs of blue jeans.

The blue jeans were called “husky” because I was a husky boy. Some things don’t change. They came with a “double knee,” which was a patch that was sewn in to make the knees extra durable. We were rough on our knees.

Those days are long gone and will never come back. I think of them often when the calendar rolls around to August.

Harris Blackwood is a Gainesville resident whose columns appear on the Sunday Life page and on gainesvilletimes.com/harris.

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