No wonder my mother loved the month of September at our camp. She would get the five of us up, breakfasted, and sent us off to town with my father to attend school. By that time, the sun was in full force on the back porch and she could have a second cup of coffee with her books and magazines before starting the rest of her day. It wasn’t quite so comfortable for us children as we woke in the cold of the early morning and then returned in the coolness of the late afternoon. I seriously remember, after sleeping under wonderful flannel sheets, having to dress in front of the fireplace, holding my clothes up to the heat to warm.

Now, many years later I am able to appreciate those September mornings. Since my husband officially stopped working in education this June and I continue to work only three days a week, I can now spend four days in a row at the lake and I can have my coffee on the sunny back porch with my books and magazines. This stretch of unbelievably beautiful warm weather has even allowed me to go swimming mid-September. Amazing.

It does, however, take a while to get one’s inner seasonal clock accurate. At least it did for my husband. Last week on a sunny September morning, my husband and I decided to scout out an apple-picking site for an impending October visit from our New Jersey grandson. We headed out through Garland, Exeter, and Stetson and ended up at a wonderful establishment in Levant. There was a petting zoo, animals in a barn, a corn maze, and bright orange pumpkins. There were hayrides and apple-picking opportunities galore: even ice cream and sugary homemade doughnuts to go with cold cider. As a past elementary school principal, I recognized this was a teacher’s dream field trip: clean, organized with convenient picnic tables and access to bathrooms. As I stood and watched for a while, I saw a kindergarten class listening to a lecture on rabbits. A second-grade class was down picking apples and another small group was finishing up their cider and doughnuts. All under perfect, sunny, 80-degree skies.

It was obviously time for one school group to head back as I saw a big, yellow school bus head up the drive. Teachers and chaperones were gently leading small charges with nametags onto the bus. My husband, also an elementary school veteran, looked at me and said, quite surprised: “Wow. Isn’t it great that the towns let these summer recreation programs use their school buses?” I looked at him and said, “Dear, it’s not summer anymore. These children have probably been in class for three weeks!”

We laughed as we picked out apples, cider, and two delicious small doughnuts for the ride back to the lake. We followed the yellow bus back along the road, watching the small heads bounce in the seats, still chuckling.