No shirt

“No shirt, no shoes, no service.”

That was as a popular sign among the outer beach area restaurants a few years back, but I’ll bet your bottom dollar that it had little need this past summer as the really warm days were few and far between.

Although we did have a beautiful warm and sunny successive 10 days in the latter weeks of September, it ended abruptly.

I have long been under the impression that sunshine was good for the body and have enjoyed, since quite young, peeling my shirt off and getting a reasonably good tan.

This has never been difficult for me as, being red-headed, I have a light complexion that burns easily if too long exposure is given, but over the years I have learned by the discomfort of blisters, the cautions of over-exposure.

The first hour I start off glowing a light pink, so back on goes the shirt. The second day, with a little longer exposure, freckles show up neatly splattered at random across my upper arms and shoulders. By the time the third day has expired, the freckles appear as blotches, but by the fourth day of equal afternoon exposure the freckles are so excited that they all join hands and huddle together, giving the appearance of me being well tanned.

What more could you want? In the winter, a good tan is equivalent to wearing an additional shirt.

Lately, I have had the opportunity of crisscrossing the countryside. And it is interesting to see the birds that are beginning to form small flocks while getting ready to head south for the winter. Blackbirds and starlings can be seen lining the hydro wires. Small flocks of robins can be seen copiously searching the hedgerows for ripening fruit and berries.

On a past rainy morning, quite a group of bluebirds were catching the flies that had sought shelter around the windows under the overhang of the barn. Both the barn and tree swallows had parted our company along about the last week of August, and although the humming birds were still frequenting our feeder and sipping nectar from the red flowers of the scarlet runner beans a week ago, I have not seen them now for two or three days.

When we harvested the second-cut hay during the first week of September, I noticed that no bobolinks flew singing over the fresh cut hay. As well, no meadowlarks sang from the fence posts and no killdeer scampered across the short-cut grass.

The sudden drop in temperature bringing on cooler nights, the songs of the crickets ended, and whether Ripley’s wants to believe it or not, I went from a no shirt and sneakers Friday to a winter coat and rubber boot Monday – two full weeks prior to Thanksgiving weekend.

Take care, ‘cause we care.




Barrie Hopkins