End of Summer

Pictured is my posterior in 2009 at the end of my last California summer before embarking for the East Coast. Updated photo coming soon. Enjoy your Labor Day.

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I can think of no better way to mark the end of summer than with my own end. It’s wrapped in a pair of madras shorts by Ralph Lauren bought last week at an end-of-season sale. Getting them, however, felt  antithetical to the spirit of summer — not to mention the spirit of madras. Buying a topcoat at a steep discount at the dawn of spring seems a sensible means of acquiring a utilitarian item. But madras shorts should be bought in the heart of summer, spontaneously, and while on vacation. In fact, a spirit of carpe diem should be the ruling ethos all summer long. And so I ask you, on this Labor Day Weekend, did you do everything this summer that you wanted to? Did you do all you could have? Will you always remember the summer of 2020, for reasons other than events beyond your control? After all, how many summers do you have left?

The other day some lines of A.E. Housman popped into my head. I flipped through “A Shropshire Lad” three times scanning for the word “summer” until I finally found the poem, and it’s about spring!

Ah well, it still serves our purposes here. Pay special attention to the second stanza. — CC

Poem II (“Loveliest of trees…”)
By AE Housman
From “A Shropshire Lad,” 1896

Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.

Now, of my threescore years and ten,
Twenty will not come again,
And take from seventy springs a score,
It only leaves me fifty more.

And since to look at things in bloom
Fifty springs are little room,
About the woodlands I will go
To see the cherry hung with snow.

15 Comments on "End of Summer"

  1. I just picked a pair of these Polo buckle back shorts up this week in the same fashion, sale rack. Just could not pass up linen and silk shorts for 20 simoleons.

  2. At first I thought that was me. I wore that combo RL buckle in the back shorts with a BBXKJP belt is summer.

  3. A Bridge too Far | September 6, 2016 at 9:49 am |

    Never liked buckle-back shorts or pants of any kind. I have two pairs of madras shorts sans back buckles. One made by Brooks brothers bought about a decade ago. It has faded nicely. The other pair is a recent purchase from Orvis. Both are great shorts I wear throughout the summer months.

    Like the poem. It reminds me we have only limited time here. As I grow older, I do try an make the most of whatever time remains. A Japanese Zen master noted that most of us have about 30,000 days. It sounds like a lot, but really isn’t and it goes by fast. It is worthwhile calculating how many days you’ve already spent and how many you have left. It makes you think about what’s really important in your life and getting up and out and pursuing it.

  4. Michael Brady | September 6, 2016 at 10:08 am |

    That strap and buckle seems way too large. Buckle-back khakis are the bomb, however.

  5. What purpose does the buckle serve? Someone please refresh my memory. Ornamental?

  6. Michael Brady | September 8, 2016 at 2:04 pm |

    “Do they make my ass look big”?

    Who’s looking? That back strap would make a handy carrying handle though.

  7. The buckle blackstrap looked best on a pair of corduroys in my not so humble opinion. It began to disappear around 1961, I think. Some say it was because jokesters found them convenient to administer “wedgies.”

  8. Whiskeydent- just saw your post from yesterday regarding the “cool” front due here this week. Brrrrrrr indeed!

  9. I’ve been considering a pair of ‘desert rat’ gurkha khaki shorts with the tab adjustments (there are a surprising number of new-manufactured models available online), but the idea received some very strong negative reviews when proposed to my spouse.


  10. Charlottesville | September 8, 2020 at 10:33 am |

    Paul – If you decide to follow through on the shorts, make sure you get the appropriate shirt and accessories, as shown below. Dogs optional.


  11. A Bridge Too Far’s comment of the Zen master’s lifespan of 30,000 days caught my attention on maximizing its potential utility in life. A little arithmetic yielded a life of 82.2 years. As Dr. Spock frequently urges, “live long and prosper”.

  12. Paul
    Charlottesville is right, as usual. It takes a certain attitude — exemplified by the esteemed Jonathon Quayle Higgins in the second photo — to pull off ghurkas. They’re not the shorts of mere mortals.

  13. Charlottesville | September 8, 2020 at 8:47 pm |

    Thanks for the vote of confidence, whiskeydent; undeserved or not, I will accept it. Hope the weather in Texas is sending you some cooling zephyrs.

  14. If I buy them, you boys will be the first to knoW!

  15. Henry Contestwiner | September 17, 2020 at 10:05 pm |

    I had a pair of fashion Gurkha shorts in the 80s. Fit great, looked great.

    I tried a repro pair from What Price Glory a few years ago. They had enough material for three pairs of shorts. I returned them.

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