I said goodbye to summer last night. A skinny stripling of a boy in cut off shorts, he stood barefoot on the dock looking expectantly at his fishing pole. The fading sunlight gleamed off his tanned shoulders. His little brother sat on the edge of the dock, feet dangling in the water.
As I pulled my canoe up to the dock, we chatted awhile -- the way fishermen do.
"Any luck?" I asked.
"Oh yeah. Caught two pike and a bass. Had a really big pike on and got him right up to the dock."
"Can you eat the fish in here?"
"Sure can. I ate a largemouth bass and he filled my belly."
We said goodbye and parted ways. He didn't know that next week his mom would be leading him through Kmart to pick up new shoes for school and that there would be books to read and assignments ahead. He didn't know... and I didn't tell him. When you're a boy, summer is eternal.
I picked up my rod and bucket and headed back to the van, clipped on my cell phone, turned the ignition and returned to my own responsibilities. As I drove away in the gathering darkness, he still stood there, taking in the last of summer.
Tom Ball of Le Roy is a medical doctor. He has written several personal essays for The Daily News.