Inez Castor

"Coming down the backstretch, it's Youth in the lead, Strength a close second, Determination third and the rest of the pack trails. We're around the far end and ... look at that! Old Fool is making her move on the last corner! Coming toward the finish line, Youth and Strength are flagging, Determination is in the lead and Old Fool is comin' on strong!"

"And it's Old Fool by a nose! The crowd rises, cheering. Against heavy odds, in spite of injuries early in the season, Old Fool has won the roses! She arrives at the end of the list of chores just as foggy August ends and clear, cold September breaks over us like a wave."

Okay, 'fess up. We all do it, don't we? We're the announcers of our own lives. Watch a little boy playing alone with a baseball. He throws it to a tree and makes a mad dash for first while his alter ego sits in the announcer's booth.

"And Jimmy hits a high fly over the center wall! He's rounding first

and the crowd is on its feet, cheering this great athlete."

Yep, we all do it. If we don't cheer ourselves on, who will? The poor

clerk trying to get through her shift while worrying about the kid with

a sniffle this morning? She has her own problems, so it would be a

mitzvah to cheer her a bit, too. After all, you're on the move and she's

stuck behind that counter.

When you realize you're encouraging your way through the end of the

"Must Do Before Winter list," know you're not alone. Whatever works! If

you do your announcing aloud, in public, you might get some strange

looks, but you probably won't be arrested and the crowd between you and

that clerk will simply melt away.

I really am getting close to the end of the list. And a good thing,

too. I'm halfway through a project that requires windless weather for a

couple more days. The night was full of blanket-churning leg cramps, the

day is forecast to be exhausting, and the wind is coming up.

Nevertheless, I'm proud as a white-washed pig. I missed winter

entirely and got a late start on spring. I've even broken some heavy

work down into smaller jobs, a health insurance thing. I was still

wrapping my arms around 40 pounds of pellets and waddling toward the

house when Richard suggested a furniture dolly.

After some trial and error, I put some 18-gallon plastic boxes on the

front porch. Each box holds two bags of pellets, which will arrive by

dolly. Then I'll use a couple buckets for transfer to the bin by Polly

Pellet Stove.

"And look at the weight the Old Fool is taking off the knees! She's

definitely planning an injury-free winter."

Go ahead, encourage yourself. If you've labored your way safely

through Labor Day into another school year, another Indian Summer,

another autumn, you're a star.

Reach Inez Castor, a longtime Triplicate columnist, at