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End of summer? Not just yet

Updated: January 23, 2012 3:42AM



These are the bittersweet days, the back-to-school time with its return of routine, summer’s magically long days suddenly a thing of the past. Those of us with kids reclaim several weekday hours, for work, chores or pleasure. Those hours are not filled with the laughter, or the whining, or that unique combination of childish utterances contained in the summertime home.

It’s a time to look back at warm season plans executed or left unfulfilled, a time to assess the balance of projects and fun, and if the ratio of time and energy spent in those pursuits paid off.

This is also harvest time for those of us who garden; time to reap the benefits of that early season work in the veggie plot and to share those fruits with friends and neighbors.

Though I love early fall, with its comfortable temperatures, delicious fresh veggies and football-filled Sundays, there’s an ominous side to the season. It’s the precursor, after all, to winter.

Sure, I tell people that in order to truly enjoy summer, one has to experience winter. Plus, it’s a great time to recharge, to plan out next year’s vacation or garden, to go to bed early and catch up on some of that lost shuteye.

But winter often lasts a bit too long around these parts. One way around that is to extend the summer as long as possible. It’s not too late to start one of those outdoor projects, to drive out to Starved Rock State Park and stroll around, or even to explore some of our own forest preserves.

For a while yet, it will be nice enough to sit outside for an hour with a good book, or to sit around a small fire and enjoy conversation with friends.

The calendar may say this weekend marks the end of summer, but that’s only true if you believe it.

The Sax-man cometh

A while back, I posted a video to my Facebook page of the demolition of a landmark from my youth, a structure my siblings and I (as well as a lot of other folks, it turns out) called “The Toaster Church” at the corner of Kedzie Avenue and Flossmoor Road in Flossmoor. It seemed like it only took a few hits from a demolition shovel, and the building collapsed like cardboard in the video shot by Homewood-Flossmoor High School students.

The video quickly got a response from Steve Graeber, a friend from Marian Catholic High School, where we both played in the band. He played saxophone, I played tuba. That church wasn’t just shaped like a toaster, he said. It was a fantastic place to worship, as well as play music. After high school (and well before Facebook made it easy for people to stay in touch), he spent many days and evenings there, playing for services and taking advantage of the building’s unique acoustics.

Later, Steve pursued his passion for music all the way to Los Angeles, where he works as a studio musician and has performed in storied places like the Whisky A Go-Go and the Roxy. Steve has played and recorded with musicians from modern jazz/funk bands such as the Yellowjackets and the Greyboy Allstars.

He’s just released his first album, “Space Bush.” It’s fantastic, and available on iTunes. Check him out at www.stevegraeber.com.



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