Labor Day is here, but barbecue season is far from finished NORTH LAUREL/SAVAGE


Here it is Labor Day weekend, the last weekend of the summer. This is a day, children, when we honor the value of labor by not doing any.

This final weekend of summer must mean that fall is here, with leaves dropping and fires roaring in the immediate future.

Right. Maybe in New England and North Dakota, summer ends on Sept. 1. But it's not true in Howard County. Good grief, I'm wearing shorts as I write this, there are local peaches ripening on the counter, and I'm planning a barbecue for dinner.

But for some reason having to do with the opening of school and other nefarious practices, everyone is behaving as if it's chilly out. The outdoor pools are closing. There are fuzzy sweaters and plaid skirts in the store windows. I can buy my Halloween candy now only two months early.

What is with these people? Is fall so delightful that we anticipate the season? Is there something in our drinking water, some time perception-altering drug? Was summer so terrible we eagerly close the season?

Well, not me, I'm not giving up one iota of warmth to an early winter. I'm barbecuing until the spatula slips from my mittened hand.


There's another new offering at the Forest Ridge Recreation Center. Mary Anne Hein will teach a dog-obedience course at the center on Thursday evenings beginning Sept. 9.

This well-regarded teacher will turn your dog into a delightful companion. The pooch has to be 4 months or older and have all its shots. The owner also has to bring a poop scoop to class.


The Savage branch of the county library is a great place for toddlers. This month, the staff runs a five-week story and activity series, Time for Us, for 2-year-olds and parents. Sessions run either Mondays or Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m. Registration opens Wednesday. Sign up as early as you can because spaces fill quickly for any library program.

Call (410) 880-5978 to register or for more details about this or other children's programs.


The Savage branch also holds a drop-in late night story time for pre-school children this Wednesday. Children are welcome to attend in their pajamas. Teddy bears are optional for the 7 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. session.


The library doesn't discriminate against older children. There's a good program for 6-year-olds and older, "Tales from the Land of the Rising Sun," which focuses on the culture of Japan. The new Elkridge branch of the library, just up the road a piece, runs the program from 4:15 to 5:00 p.m. Thursday. Registration has begun, so call the Elkridge branch quickly. The number is (410) 313-5080.

The Savage branch has scheduled the program beginning Sept. 16, from 4 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. Registration opens Thursday. Call (410) 880-5978 to register.

Two years after its opening, the Savage branch of the Howard county library presents its first Noontime Book discussion. It begins Sept. 15, not Sept. 13, as it says in the library calendar.

Roberta Rood will lead the discussion on "The Family in Crisis: Before and After," by Roseleen Brown. Bring your lunch and opinions for a discussion of one of the most controversial books of 1992. Just drop in; no registration is required. For more information, call (410) 880-5975.

As in all library programs, arrangements to accommodate people with disabilities can be made. Give the library five days' notice.

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