Welcome, sweet, cold spring

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Oh the sweetness of spring break. No school — no homework, no tests, no teachers. An entire week of freedom.

Remember how that felt? I sure do. It was a reminder that we were on the downhill side of another school year. If it was spring break time, summer vacation could not be long away.

Of course, it seemed the week AEA fell on was the same week a blast of winter air arrived. The temperature could be 80 degrees the Friday before we got out of school and by the following Monday, it might struggle to reach 60.

No matter, school was out and regardless of the weather, it was time for celebrating spring. I remember the year that Daddy took us to Destin on a fishing trip. (This was when Destin was still a sleepy little fishing town and all the spring break action was in Panama City).

It was so cold, but I was determined to get a start on my tan and return to school glowing. I sat shivering beside the bridge trying to pretend I wasn’t freezing as I turned my back to the steady wind blowing out of the north. Needless to say, the only thing I got was a windburn on my face and chapped lips, not exactly the look I planned to sport on my return to classes.

Other years, I braved the cold to lay out on a blanket in the backyard, music playing on my transistor radio while I tried to ignore the chill bumps popping out all over my body. I look back now and wonder why I didn’t have the good sense to just go inside and enjoy a nice nap curled up under that blanket.

Sunday, I noticed lots of traffic headed south. Obviously, the cars carried folks traveling to the beach for spring break. Of course, by late afternoon, right on schedule, the 80-degree temperature took a dive, settling into the cold 40s by evening.

I thought about all those kids and adult chaperones that are going to sit on the beach willing themselves to be warm, turning every way possible in order to catch a few rays of sun before heading home and back to the reality of school.

It almost seems a cruel prank Mother Nature plays this time of year, tempting us with a few days of warm only to plunge us back into winter. And, it seems especially cruel when it happens on AEA week.

Of course, years from now when these young people look back on the golden days when they enjoyed the freedom of a break from school, their stories will not be about the weather. (Well, maybe a little about the tan they didn’t get and chill bumps).

They will probably speak of parties on the beach, remember what couple got together and revisit the stories of who broke up after a dramatic fight at those beach parties. Yes, the tales of spring breaks past will live, grow, and expand until finding a particle of what actually happened under all the hype might just be impossible.

Oh, but all of that is for another time. Today, it is sunny and beautiful and looks so inviting until you step outside and the chilly wind hits you head on. I hear by Friday, when all the beachgoers head home in time for their weekend Easter egg hunts, it might be 70 degrees. By the time the bells ring next Monday signaling the end of spring break, temperatures may be in the mid to upper 70s.

So, students as you return to your classrooms and your eyes look longingly out at the warm day, know that somewhere a woman sits in the sweet sunshine listening to music. No school — no homework, no tests, no teachers. Someday, this will be you the week after spring break, but for now, summer vacation arrives in about eight weeks.