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It’s Saturday at 5:45 a.m. and I’m awake. Why? Because life is about to become… well… not summer.

Two more days until the school year arrives like the vexatious neighbor from any of the cookie-cutter sitcoms. In 48 hours, very early in the morning, the school year will walk through the front door of life. He’ll pillage my schedule like it’s my refrigerator, rudely snatching what he deems appetizing. He’ll make himself right at home, plopping down on the couch and kicking up his feet. After two or three days of nudging at him, urging him to understand that he isn’t welcome and that, in fact, he’s stealing from me, I’ll give up. By then, the nature of his pretension and ignorant immovability will have sunk in and I’ll know that he isn’t going anywhere for at least another nine months.

That’s how I feel about the school year.

And why? Because for a guy like me, someone who will see nearly every free evening and weekend evaporate until June (with a few air pockets after Christmas and Easter for catching my breath or maybe even sleeping in), summer is that time when certain responsibilities go into hibernation and I gain a little bit of extra time to do other things—“me” things—at a more comfortable pace.

“So, why then are you up so early this morning, Reverend, especially since this is the last day to be had for sleeping in?”

Ah, yes. Indeed, what am I doing here at this moment upon the fast-fleeting timeline, this last and highly prized instance that I should be deeply mining of its resources and opportunity for remaining in my bed past 7:00 a.m.?

I’m vacationing.

I’m not rushing to do anything. I’m sitting and watching the sunrise, not driving into it. I’m sitting in my kitchen with my favorite mug drinking coffee I brewed myself rather than digging through the cup holder in the minivan looking for enough loose change to afford a cup from the drive-thru. I’m reading the tasting notes I scribbled last night after trying a sample of Fleishmann’s Preferred Whiskey and I’m tapping at my computer to see what comes of them instead of reading emails or inter-office notes and doing what I can to write as many responses as possible before an over-scheduled day pushes them to the following morning.

Essentially, I’m sitting quietly and doing “me” things at a comfortable pace.

This is my schedule when we vacation in Florida for ten days each year in June. I get up early, drink my coffee, every now and then giving a smile to the early sun through a nearby grove of palm trees while I sit and type until Jen and the kids get up. When they do finally emerge from their much-needed slumber, we eat breakfast together and then we all go out to the pool and swim for a few hours. Minus the pool and palm trees, I’m doing what I do when I’m on vacation, and that’s exactly what I told myself before bed last night that I was going to do.

Having said all of this, I suppose I should’ve chosen a different whiskey to consider on this final day, because unfortunately, this one only serves to carry me from finer things back into the dross of burdensome ponderings. When it comes to blended whiskies, everything about the Fleischmann’s Preferred is as the school year at the stoop preparing to ring the doorbell.

Smelling an awful lot like someone who managed to brush his teeth but forgot the importance of showering, this aggravating neighbor greets you at the door with an initial breath of Colgate followed by the souring smell of graying meat that’s a day or two past the “Use by” date on its packaging. There’s a hint of something floral, but I’m guessing that it’s merely an attempt by the visitor to shroud the aforementioned facts with a spritzing of Old Spice.

The palate reveals that the meat is indeed in its last minutes of being consumable, and rather than adding some sort of seasoning, it was doused in children’s mixed-berry flavored acetaminophen, which is probably a good idea considering the headache you already knew the nosing of this stuff was bound to bring when it walked through the door.

Of course, like the school year, this whiskey lasts far too long. It most certainly overstays its welcome, coating the taste buds with syrupy medicine resulting in the inability to enjoy very little of anything else you might want to savor afterward. I tried to wash it away with water, but that simply didn’t work. It took three fingers worth of the Laphroaig 10-year-old to beat the aftertaste into submission and eventually drive it from my home.

Yes, it did eventually depart. It was incredibly exasperating—often too much to bear—but it did eventually leave.

With that, I know that June is coming.