Most people love the August long weekend. I enjoy it, but there’s always a bittersweet element to it.
Frankly, the August long weekend (or Saskatchewan Day long weekend, as it is officially known) is not one that I eagerly anticipate as much as others during the year.
Sure, the weather is hot and the sun is shining and it’s great to get out and do things, but it carries a caveat: summer is more than halfway over.
(This is why I’m also not a fan of the Labour Day long weekend. Summer is pretty much done by that point, and if the weather isn’t nice for Labour Day, then you lose that last blast of summer.
There’s no shortage of things to do during the August long weekend. If you don’t believe me, check out our 101 things to do in Estevan special section in this week’s paper. Many of them, from boating to fishing, or golfing to lounging on a patio, are rather popular on the Saskatchewan Day long weekend.
And they’re things that you can continue to do in the next few weeks as we continue to cling to the final weeks of summer. (Trip to the Roche Percee rocks, anyone?)
Anyways, when I was a youth, there was the sense of great optimism about the Victoria Day long weekend; summer vacation was coming. Two months of doing nothing was just weeks away. When Canada Day arrived, that dream had materialized. By the time July 15 hit, you had the realization that summer wasn’t going to last forever. And when the August long weekend arrived, you knew that summer was more than halfway over, not just in terms of summer vacation, but in terms of actual summer days from June to September.
Yep, fall is just six weeks away. Don’t shoot the messenger.
I only have a few more weeks to get in those rounds of golf, to have lunches and suppers on patios, to jog around the Chamney Running Track near the Estevan Comprehensive School, and to cool off after strenuous exercise by enjoying a nice, cold India pale ale.
Before I know it, we’ll reach the 50-50 day, when it will be daylight only half of the day.
We’re getting less daylight with every passing day. We’re getting cooler temperatures in the evening. And before too long, I’ll see leaves all over the lawns and parking lots in the community.
Again, don’t shoot the meteorological messenger.
Of course, when I was younger, the end of summer meant that it was time to go back to school. Mom and dad called it Freedom Day. But for me and most of my friends, we cringed.
This year, of course, the first day back is going to mean something very different for local families. For kids, they might actually look forward to returning to the classroom and seeing all the people they know, even if it will be very different than what it was when traditional classroom learning ended in March.
Oh sure, there was online learning, and everyone did the best they could, but it still wasn’t the same as being in the classroom.
Parents should be looking forward to a Freedom Day of their own Sept. 1, when kids are supposed to go back to class. I’m pretty confident they will be back in class that day.
But it’s frustrating for them, because as of Mercury press time, the specifics on the back to school plan hadn’t been revealed. We know the kids are supposed to be in classrooms on Sept. 1, but as far as specifics, we don’t know much.
That’s the aggravating part. Parents deserve to have answers. The provincial government should have come out with their detailed plan by now, with as many answers as possible, with details on how they will take care of special needs students, immuno-compromised students, what they will do if there’s a second wave of COVID and how they will navigate other challenges of the pandemic.
This should have happened before July 31, so that parents have at least a month to plan. It’s supposed to come this week, but the earlier the government could have assuaged fears and answered questions, the better off we all would have been.
In the meantime, let’s enjoy these last four weeks of summer, do as much as we can, find activities that can distract us from the difficult times we find ourselves in, and have fun.
Yes, we’re still allowed to have fun.
And we still need to be safe.