I’m scooting about town on a beautiful, kid-free, August day running errands. I have mastered the fine art of window aerodynamics in my Jeep, knowing exactly how far to open each one so as to get the perfect amount of warm, summer wind blowing through my seasonably blonde hair. With an infant and toddler in tow most days, having the windows down isn’t an option; too much wind on the infant and a toddler who doesn’t understand that we can’t throw garbage and toys out the window.


The poster girl for summer, dressed in big sunglasses, a sundress, flip-flops and beach-inspired jewelry, I head out in search of a floppy hat for my two-month-old son.


In one store, the clerk escorts me to a pathetic little display that houses the remnants of their summer children’s attire; hordes of infant sandals and overpriced pool toys are strewn haphazardly on the racks, but no floppy hats. The display is directly across from a large section of the store that has been dedicated to Halloween costumes. Right next to the costumes is a section of baby clothing with things like “Mommy’s little turkey” emblazoned on the pant bottoms. Being that it’s only August, turkey dinners and gravy boats hadn’t even crossed my mind.


I decide to grab some lunch. I head to a new gastro-pub in town and take a seat at the bar underneath an air conditioning vent, as it is nearing ninety degrees outside and I am bound and determined to have the windows down in my Jeep as much as possible before it turns cold in the winter (or before I pick up my kids, whichever comes first.) Browsing the menu, I ask about the soup of the day. The waitress tells me that it is sweet potato soup. Uncharacteristically, I inquire no further and order it along with a light, caprese salad. Soon, the soup is presented to me; no signs of sweet potatoes. It looks like and has the consistency of pumpkin pie mixed with cream; so thick that it doesn’t fall off the soup spoon when held above the piping hot crock. I eat it despite my hesitation, feeling it coat my insides like a layer of hot, dense, tan paint. I order a beer off the sizable beverage menu, noticing that a summery grapefruit beer is on sale, presumably to make way for the pumpkin beers that have recently been advertised as being available at my local beer distributor.


I slowly head back into the heat, bogged down by quart of gloppy pumpkin soup. I decide to head to the mall to try my luck at finding a summer hat for my son. The stores are teeming with mobs of mothers and their school-aged children, forming long, checkout lines with armfuls of back-to-school clothing bargains and barking shoe sizes at the department store clerks as they hurry off, returning with carefully balanced boxes of gym shoes, piled up like a quivering Jenga tower.

I stop in a fragrance retailer with the intention of buying foaming hand soap, as my toddler’s new favorite hobby is handwashing with “bubbly soap.” A bright-eyed, chirpy employee accosts me, pulling a scent out of her apron pocket and waving it in my face to ask if I’ve smelled it yet. She then excitedly tells me that this fall, they are going to have twelve different pumpkin-scented items.


“I didn’t know that a pumpkin could smell twelve different ways.” My snarky sarcasm catches her off guard; so, to prevent embarrassing this perfectly nice young girl at her summer job, I force a chuckle and a half-smile, as though I am just ignorant when it comes to the potential of the mighty pumpkin. She laughs and happily bounces off to greet the next customer. On my way out, I notice a bunch of summer-inspired hand soaps are on sale, unmistakably to make room for the twelve scents of pumpkin mayhem about to be unleashed.


I admit defeat and decide to do what I should have done in the first case and buy the floppy hat online, where somewhere, if I’m lucky, it’s still summer.