I'm almost afraid to put that title at the top for fear it may send a subliminal message to those irritating insects that start buzzing my nose about this time of the year. They may think it's "time" for "flies" to come, but that's not what I'm thinking.
I'm thinking how Linda Hunt's call this week made me realize how rapidly the seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months and years have zipped past since I said good bye to my teaching career in June, 2002.
Eight years, 99 months . . . beyond that, the math gets to be too much for me, and I don't have a pen up here to cipher it all out.
I do know for sure, however, that this will be the eighth time the school bells have rung and I haven't answered the call. This will be the eighth year I haven't gotten a knot in my stomach around mid-July and felt it continually winding up tighter than a drum by early September.
This will be the eighth year that I haven't had a hate affair with Sunday afternoons. I relish Sunday afternoons these days cuz often Bill and I take off to go do something in the mountains. That's a big switch from turning into a major grouch and avoiding any and all distractions taking me away from my lessons plans and my sleep.
This will be the eighth year that I haven't had to memorize 130-140 names in a week, figure out seating charts, fill in grade books and maintain some grasp on the avalanche of school rules, papers, administrative policies, extra duties, etc. that tend to deluge the days during the early part of a school year.
This is the eighth year I haven't spent most of the month of August in my classroom, especially at night when nobody's around, when I can get something done rather than visiting or commiserating with the "aint-it-awful" discussions that often dominate the staff room or hallways.
Nope, I'm not doing that anymore, and I don't miss any of it. These days, I'm seeing it from afar but close enough to remember the highlights as I visit with Willie every day when he brings or picks up the dogs.
I'm sure his gut is tightning and his brain is swirling with the "million things to do" list. He's been visiting his classroom off and on throughout this month.
He's already had several meetings with his Cedar Post staff because they want to put out their first issue of the paper on the first day of school, which this year is Sept. 7. Teachers return officially Sept. 1. Now that the Cedar Posters are entering the production stage, Willie's time at school in his classroom is increasing.
Did anyone tell him he did not have to get started until Sept. 1?
Willie's activities of late serve as one more example to dispel the age-old myth of those slackers who work only nine months out of the year, six hours a day.
In between getting ready to start the school year far in advance of its beginning, Willie is spending a lot of time making himself credible as a journalism instructor. Practice what you preach, they say.
Well, Willie finished off a Sandpoint Magazine feature earlier this week.
He's off to Moscow as I type, bound for a 10 a.m. interview with Jeremy Thielbahr and then a visit with Coach Rob Akey and some of the Vandal football squad.
Jeremy is a Vandal assistant coach; he was also a stand-out football player for SHS and WSU. So, Willie figures this Sandpoint alum make a good interview for the local paper.
Yeah, Linda called this week, and it's TIME. Time for the annual "Thank God, We're Retired and We Don't Have to Report for Duty When the Bell Rings" party. That will be Sept. 1 when all our still-working colleagues go through their first day of meetings, policy, paperwork, etc.
I don't know how many years Linda and Ron Hunt have hosted this party in their back yard, but I do know that every year I've attended, I haven't witnessed any guests with signs of a miserable gut or a look of frenzy on their faces. Instead, they're all smiles and happy as clams.
They're also totally amazed at how fast time flies when you're no longer sitting or standing in front of a class of students.
Best wishes to all who do go back to teach the children this September.