It's the Little Things...: An Appreciation of Life's Simple Pleasures

It's the Little Things...: An Appreciation of Life's Simple Pleasures

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by Craig Wilson
     
 

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In 1996, Craig Wilson began writing a column for USA Today called “The Final Word.” In it, he extolled the virtues of the true pleasures in life—clotheslines, freshly cut firewood, sweet corn, and Adirondack chairs—and looked back on his childhood in the country with fondness and an infectious sense of humor. Wilson’s message

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Overview

In 1996, Craig Wilson began writing a column for USA Today called “The Final Word.” In it, he extolled the virtues of the true pleasures in life—clotheslines, freshly cut firewood, sweet corn, and Adirondack chairs—and looked back on his childhood in the country with fondness and an infectious sense of humor. Wilson’s message struck a nerve, and now he receives hundreds of letters and e-mails each week from readers who share his sense of nostalgia and appreciate his warm, thoughtful observations on daily life.

It’s the Little Things... showcases the best of “The Final Word,” with the pieces arranged by season. In fall, for example, Wilson remembers his mom’s Thanksgiving gravy and his crush on his first-grade teacher; in winter, he holds forth on aluminum Christmas trees and the kiddie table; in spring, he writes about the joys of walking to work and puttering in the garage; and in summer, his thoughts turn to white bucks, front porches, and outdoor showers. The result is a delightful book to share with others and to relish throughout the year.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780375758966
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
09/10/2002
Pages:
240
Sales rank:
1,350,972
Product dimensions:
4.71(w) x 7.22(h) x 0.53(d)

Read an Excerpt

September

Oh, it’s a long, long while

From May to December,

But the days grow short

When you reach September.

—“September Song”

Short, yes. But, oh, so sweet.

September, more than even those highly touted pastel months of spring, holds so much promise.

And more than even January, September heralds a new year. A new beginning.

New clothes.

New pencil boxes.

New friends.

Things start in September.

Things like school, with their floors all shiny and their books stacked high.

Pencils are long in September. Erasers full.

Everyone is an A student. Everyone is equal.

We’re where we’re supposed to be. Back home, and back to work. And we look good being there. We’re rested. We still have that summer tan. But no longer do we have to worry about keeping to bathing suit weight. We pull on the corduroys, pull over that sweater, and cover up until spring.

We get new haircuts in September.

And haul out the stockings.

And put away the white shoes. We’re sick of them anyway.

Up from the meadows rich with corn,

Clear in the cool September morn, . . .

John Greenleaf Whittier

If you care about baseball, September brings the pennant races. If you’re a Cleveland Indians fan, it means the pain is almost over.

“By then I’ve given up, and I’ve started following the [pro football] Browns,” says Tom Wiener of Washington, D.C., an avid Indians fan, who has come to accept September’s cruel fate. “That’s the good thing about September. There’s something new to move on to.”

And if you don’t care about football, you can wax your skis and not feel like a fool.

The first smell of rekindled fireplaces blankets the neighborhood. You see your breath for the first time in months.

You drink Scotch again.

Symphonies warm up.

The PTA comes back to life. School buses are everywhere.

. . . Kids in slickers wait for buses; Sorry Sues and Gloomy Guses. Orchards swell with Red Delicious, Baldwins, Macs, and Northern Spies. Pickers work through rain like fishes, wiping their eyes.

Tim Clark, The Old Farmer’s Almanac

September has given us so many good things: the Constitution. Brigitte Bardot. Agatha Christie. George Gershwin.

The ice-cream cone was invented in September. A little late for that summer of 1903, but better late than never.

And Labor Day is always in September. You have to love a month that has a holiday named Labor when no one works.

September also has the honor of always ushering in autumn. This year: 7:48 a.m. EST on the twenty-third.

Fall, leaves, fall; die, flowers, away;

Lengthen night and shorten day; . . .

Emily Brontë

June’s a cliché. We march down the aisle in September now.

“The weather is better, and everyone is back,” says Hedda Kleinfeld, of Kleinfeld’s bridal salon in Brooklyn, New York. She dressed over a thousand brides for this September.

“September is really the beginning of the year, and for the bride, your choices for dresses are wonderful,” she says. “You can wear what you wish. You don’t have to do summer or winter. You can have a satin dress if you want.”

The world is heady with harvest. Apples in Washington State. Cranberries on Cape Cod. Mums everywhere.

“September’s that wonderful lull between the music season in August and the ski season,” says Aspen, Colorado, restaurateur Lauretta Bonfiglio. “September’s the time for the local people to enjoy. It’s the mellow time. And the most beautiful time.”

Miss America gets her crown in September.

The Atlantic loses its warmth.

So does the sun.

See you in September . . .

September is the time of reunions.

You return to college. To old haunts and old friends and old habits, good and bad.

Every club from the Lions to the Elks congregates then. If there’s something to sign up for, we sign up for it in September.

It’s a good month to fall in love, too. The slate is often clean. The summer romance is over. He’s gone back from where he came. So has she.

“September offers some kind of hope,” says Cheryl Lavin, whose syndicated romance and relationship advice column, “Tales from the Front,” appears in more than fifty newspapers. “But you have to be careful in September. We get letters from women who sign up for fall night courses, say, in the stock market, and walk in and find thirty other women.”

Okay, so September has a few things going against it. The new TV season starts. It will bomb before October. And Congress returns to its shenanigans. Halloween candy is already lurking at the drugstore, and Christmas wrapping looms.

But babies galore are born in September, conveniently placed nine months after the season of good cheer. This September we find out if our favorite TV news queen, Murphy Brown, will have a child of her own.

The weather’s nice almost everywhere, except for the hurricanes brewing in the Caribbean. But we’re not in the Caribbean. We’re home. Remember?

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