Whenever I get to this point in August, I tend to somewhat wistfully think of one specific time in my life. I wouldn't say I'm stuck in the past, but there's something about late August with its milder days and cool nights that inevitably takes me right back to 1993.
I was just shy of turning 17 and mere days from breaking up with my first serious boyfriend. If my memory serves me right, and those of you who know my memory retrieval abilities will know I'm usually not far off, today is the day I had my first garbage plate from Nick Tahoe's on Lyle Avenue in 1993. For a teenager in Rochester, this is a rite of passage that must be experienced. But that aside, there was something about those last days of August before school started again.
I attribute much of it to getting to know a group of friends better. It was they who got me to consume a plate of greasy goodness. A couple nights later, we had a somewhat illegal cook-out in the depths of the Helmer Nature Center under the cloak of darkness. A week later they took me to Chimney Bluffs for an afternoon hike and cook-out. The group was mostly guys, hence the obsession with nature, fire, and food cooked over fire.
They were the perfect ensemble at a time when I was trying to finally be myself. I think in a lot of ways their antics and jovial manner helped me realize it was okay to unabashedly be myself. I've carried that with me since, even though sometimes I forget. Late August seems to help me remember.