I own many coats. I don’t tell you this by way of bragging. I’m not especially proud that I own so many coats, it’s just that I own many of them. Lot of people own more, sure, but that’s because they’re super concerned about their coat collection and I, a humble Williams Bay kid, only own them so that I might stay warm when inclement weather arrives. I own black jackets and brown jackets. One blue jacket and some tan jackets. I own so many jackets that I can’t even remember what they all look like. That’s a lot of jackets.
In September, the world is abuzz with jackets. Fashionable women wear their jackets in the mornings, when they drop their kids off at school or when they make sure the nanny knows what to do that day. In September, ads appear on television showing children in impoverished countries, showing them without jackets, telling us that it will be winter soon. They need just one jacket, and the woman with the kids and the nanny has so many. I, too, as previously mentioned, have more than enough to spare. September is a month then jacket sales and jacket donation and jacket wearing spikes.
At September soccer games, I have worn jackets. I wear one of my black ones, and it’s thin and it isn’t particularly warm, but it’s still a jacket. If the kids in the commercial had that jacket and their country got as cold as the narrator said it might, then they’d still need another jacket. This jacket isn’t warm, but it’s a jacket, and on those days sitting on those sidelines I wished for a better jacket. One of my heavier ones, maybe the blue one.
But most September days there’s the thought of a jacket in the morning, and a complete disregard for a jacket by mid morning. My children wear jackets to school in September, at least some of the time. They wear jackets out of the house, into the car, into the school. They come home without their jackets. The jackets are in their locker, they say. They know exactly where the jackets are. They didn’t need the jackets this morning, really, but September has us thinking we need to wear them. My wife thinks we need to wear them. Don’t forget your jacket, she says, as the kids run from the house and the temperatures climb into the seventies. No one, not even the kids in that ad, needs a jacket when it’s seventy something.
This is the problem with September. Retailers tell us it’s fall, so we’ll buy their fall wares. We need tweed and leather, wool and plaid. We need the things we didn’t need in August. But September isn’t really fall, just as March isn’t really spring, just as June isn’t really summer. October, these last two weeks of sunny days and crisp nights, this is fall. This is perfection. October requires a jacket, which is good, because I have so many.
When you put on your jacket this morning, do me a favor. Skip work. Just drive to the lake and get this fall weekend started. Colors will peak here not this weekend but next, (October 20-27th will be our peak color in Lake Geneva, write that down), but there are enough reds and yellows in that previously green shoreline to make it all worth while. Saturday morning, wake up, put on your jacket, the one you can’t wear in September because September isn’t fall, and go for a walk. Kick some leaves. October only lasts for another two weeks, and while the world and the retailers love September, everyone knows October is the better month.