Ah … Fall

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The sun is just about to slip over the roof line of my two-story condo to blind me as I sit on my east-facing balcony, and to warm the cool morning breeze I’ve been enjoying since 5:30. It is still late July, but already I am wondering about fall fashion colors and if I need boots this year. Silly, I know, since it’s still 110 degrees in the valley of the Sun.
But it’s almost fall. Kids in Arizona have either started school (last week) or are headed to school (next week). Store aisles are packed with school supplies. I love school supplies. I have fond memories of choosing each item carefully, as if it would be the last, and putting them in my wooden school box,
Yesterday, I found composition books for fifty cents at Wal-Mart; which got me started on my annual buying spree. I have dozens of pens and pencils in a container on my desk, but I still find that each fall requires new ones. And pencils — there is nothing like fresh pencils right out of the packaging, each with an unused eraser, pink and firm; the smell of lead and wood as you sharpen them for the first time is heavenly. There are no bite marks along the surface; they are full length, sharpened to a fine fragile point; the weight between your thumb and middle fingers feels fantastic. Ahh.. fall!!
New pens are full of ink; the roller moving easily and creating smooth patterns of letters. I choose a pink one for breast cancer, a pack of black, blue, red and green. Uni-ball – Pilot – Papermate and Bic all sit bright and shiny in my black metal mesh container. I even treated myself to a new eraser still shaped in a perfect rounded rectangle and smelling of rubber. Ahh.. fall.
I don’t need a backpack and my practically new black leather folio briefcase is fine. A ruler? There’s one in the kitchen drawer – I can pass on that. Two reams of computer/printer paper – check! An Angry Bird folder – a must have. A mini-stapler for travel – the staples so tiny and cute it’s amazing it works. I make certain my notebooks are varied in color. Blogs, short stories, exercises and quotes and a possible new novel.
Index cards – 3×5, white, ruled. Last year I bought unlined by accident, and they just don’t work. Stickies. I reach for pink or a variety pack of colors; then see a variety pack of sizes – so many choices. I stick with yellow and the original sized square. After all, don’t we always say hand me a yellow sticky?
I’m two-thirds of the way down the aisle when a ten-year-old pushes and reaches in front of me for a Super Hero spiral notebook. He glances at my boring hard-bound composition books. “You can’t tear out the pages on those,” he says in a know-it-all fourth grade voice. I smile (sort of) and tell him, “I know; it’s what grown ups use.”
“Why? He asks. I realize that I don’t know – it started in college, and I can’t seem to write in anything else. I want to continue explaining, but his eyes glaze and he moves on quickly to lunch bags.
In my mind, I see my bookshelves in my home office – all the hard-bound composition books lining them – black and white, gray, red, green, blue – this year there are new ones available – polka dots, stripes, multi black and gray swirls. I’ve chosen one of each.
He’ll outgrow spiral, I think – thought he’s right – if I try to tear out a page it often loosens the entire binding held together with stitching and heavy black tape. I’ve lost more than a few pages of important pieces by attempting to do that. Plus I waste half the pages because it’s impossible to spread them open wide enough to write on the back sides. Perhaps there is something to be said for spiral, I consider.
One hundred pages are really 50 and at 50 cents – that’s a penny a page. Go away, kid, don’t get me confused. A penny a page – that’s no bargain at all, I realize. But as I head to check-out, I wear a happy smile on my face and carry my basket full of new school supplies to the cashier.
 Ahh.. fall!

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