Saturday, August 16, 2014

August...Most Significant Month of the Year!

You may not agree...but let's consider.   You may well believe that New Years' Eve is ~ the beginnings of hopes and plans for the incoming twelve months.

You may believe that December is with its glorious Christmas decorations, colouful trees,  carols, gifts,  family celebrations...and hopefully snow on the evergreens and icicles hanging from rooftops. For you, it may be your Birthday, Wedding Anniversary, Mothers' Day or Father' Day.

For me, August is a month of Renewal (in addition to New Years' Day).

It is mid-summer when children and teens are on holiday schedule.
It is the contemplation of a new school year for the entire family.
It is time to experience new teachers, staff and in-class students.
It is time for parents to revamp their schedules to the best of their abilities.
August spells the end of summer ~ introducing the onset of Autumn in September.
It is two months to November's Remembrance Day and six weeks later to the Joys of Christmas!

August not Rare...But Relish it anyway!

Paul Wilson, a journalist with the Hamilton Spectator
comments about August and asks,
What's not to love about an odd confluence of Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays?

Somebody forwarded me an email the other day that said 'August arriving on Friday is a rare one'!
That's because August, 2014 has 5 Fridays, 5 Saturdays and 5 Sundays (according to Snopes).  They say this occurs only once every 823 years (the email said).  The Chinese call it 'silver pockets full' send this to all your friends and in four days, you will have a pleasant monetary surprise.

In fact, there's going to be another August just like this one 11 years from now.  And another 6 years after that.  So, delete that miracle from your inbox.

I know there are teachers who absolutely dread the month of August.  Their summer vacation soon ends...the countdown is under way.  Looming ahead were school classes again! 

That's a shame, because August is a fine month, and  not just because of the fresh-from-the-field butter-drenched peaches-and-cream corn-on-the-cob.  August  is Panini Month...and Win With Civility Month...and National Goat Cheese Month.  We can all celebrate those...and on August 13, a full 10% of us can  mark International Lefthanders' Day.

They say you should witness a sunrise at least once a year and August is a fine time to do that.  On June 20, the day before summer solstice, Marnie and I rose early, drove out to the Beach Strip and watched the black eastern sky go pink.  It was spectacular, but that morning the sun came up at 5:39 a.m. and you want to be out there a half-hour before the sun cracks the horizon.  Catch your sunrise in late August...and it's a full hour later.  Lots of time for a Horton's stop en route to the Strip.

August is a fine time to eat out.  On Wilson, just east of James, there's a restaurant called August 8.  Eighth day of the eighth month is as lucky as they come, hence the name.  Dim sum and sushi are big here, but I can personally vouch for the dumplings ~ steamed or pan fried.

August is a great month for birthdays.  If  you happen to have been born on August 8 and go to the above-mentioned restaurant on that day, you eat free.  (They have three other locations, so you can really bust that belly.)

Barack Obama is an August baby...and Fidel Castro...and Madonna...and Sidney Crosby...and mega-director James Cameron who was born in Kapuskasing in Northern Ontario 60 years ago this August 16th.  (Just a few days earlier, Hamilton's most energetic historian/dissident also turns 60.  Too bad he hates birthdays.)

August brings The Ex. I worked the midway there in the early 70's and the smell of candy floss still snaps me back in an instant...(this being the Canadian National Exhibition). August is Festival of Friends, too, but I've just never had the courage to go since it left Gage Park for a treeless plain on the edge of town.

If nothing else, August is the month to get serious about summer.  And I know I need to get cracking.  It is always my goal to plunge into as many bodies of water as possible. So far this summer, I've done Lake Erie at Long Point.  But Lake Ontario, Lake Huron and Niagara's Chippawa Creek are also personal musts!  Swim now!  Labour Day looms!

Paul Wilson's column appears Tuesdays in the Hamilton Spectator.

I commend Paul for his views on August and I trust you readers of this article found it enlightening and delightful.  I would suggest that he contact Analiese Carr who recently swam across Lake Erie.  Her plan had been to swim its lengthiest width of some 70 plus kilometres but due to  the  night storm over the lake, she had to cut short her distance.  She does plan to swim the completion of her initial goal, so here you are, Paul, join her swim at Long Beach and direct her to Port Dover...her intended destination!

Merle Baird-Kerr...scripted July 31, 2014
Comments most welcome...e-mail to:


  1. DAVID WRITES: "Weird August...this is a really strange thing about the month of August in my life:
    Father born August 17, 1914 and died May 5, 1944.
    Step-Father born August 18, 1920 and died March 5, 1995."

  2. Life has many puzzles and we often wonder Why? and How?
    Life has many intricacies and travels many routes.
    Numbers often have a common denominator...some we solve!
    Thanks, David, for your comment.