"Hey, Dad," my youngest son chortled happily. "This is just like Christmas!"
He was pulling new clothes and school supplies from a small mound of shopping bags.
My wife had just returned from an afternoon of pre-school shopping and had deposited the bags in the middle of the living room floor. The new clothes received cursory approval, and the school supplies soon found their way into the zippered cavities of a new backpack.
Just like Christmas?
As a child, I knew I had never thought of my back-to-school stuff in that way. In fact, I remember that the traditional late summer purchase of new clothes, assorted notebooks, pencils and other school supplies served only as a vivid reminder that summer vacation was over and the drudgery of school was about to begin.
When I was in school, the start of a new school year was the pits. But, it was only a temporary condition.
Once back in school, I was soon caught up in the renewal of friendships and the flurry of school activities.
Before long, I was back into the familiar -- and comfortable -- school-play-homework routine.
I guess I should be happy.
Both of my children say they are looking forward to the start of the new school year.
The youngest, an excitable 7-year old, says he can't wait for school to begin.
The oldest, who just turned 16, says he has grown tired of the long summer lull and is ready to start his junior year at the new River Hill High School, which is home to Wilde Lake High School students while their school is being rebuilt.
This eagerness to go back to school is from the same two kids who, less than three months ago, were complaining about the long school year. I distinctly remember hearing them say, "I can't wait for summer vacation to begin."
As it begins its 18th season, the Columbia Pro Cantare Chorus is looking for additional singers.
The 100-voice volunteer Pro Cantare chorus is directed by Frances Motyca Dawson and has received praise for its musical programs from major critics throughout the Baltimore-Washington area.
Pro Cantare spokeswoman Kathleen Bowen says there are openings in all sections of the chorus, but emphasizes that there is a special need in the tenor and bass sections.
"We always need extra singers," says Ms. Bowen. "Spots open up all the time because of vacations, illness, business trips, or whatever."
A short audition will be required to determine vocal range and musical background, and interested singers are invited to attend any regular rehearsal prior to their audition.
Rehearsals for the 1994-1995 season begin on Sept. 6 and are held at Hammond High School every Tuesday, from 7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.
The first concert is scheduled for Oct. 30 in Washington.
Those interested in joining the Columbia Pro Cantare Chorus should call 730-8549 or 465-5744 to schedule an audition.
The Domestic Violence Center of Howard County is organizing yard sale fund-raisers in neighborhoods throughout the county.
The yard sale day is scheduled for Oct. 1, the first day of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
Although the event is over a month away, the agency is now seeking families or groups countywide to hold yard sales on Oct. 1.
Diane Craig, Coordinator of Volunteer Services for the agency, says the purpose of the yard sales is to raise awareness of domestic violence, and to raise money to help fund the agency's programs, which include providing safe shelters, counseling and legal assistance to Howard County victims of domestic abuse.
Ms. Craig says hundreds of women, men and children have been helped by the agency's programs, and that demand for services is on the rise.
Proceeds from all the yard sales will be shared 50-50.
If you are interested in having a yard sale to help raise funds for the Domestic Violence Center, please call 997-0304.
Les Petits Chefs is the name of a new fall program at Slayton House for children ages 3 and 4. Instructor Nina Martin will teach the young chefs recipes that are low in sugar, salt and fat and are lots of fun to make. They also will learn about various foods from the four basic food groups.
Classes will be held at Slayton House, in Wilde Lake Village Center, on Mondays, from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m., and will begin on Sept. 12.
The cost of the six-week Les Petit Chefs course is $36.
All ingredients are provided.
For additional information, call 730-3987.