Long, long ago when visiting a park in Philadelphia on a Saturday in September, I took a picture of an old man sitting on a park bench taking a nap. As I look at that photo today, I can’t help but think he was dreaming about a special time in his life that, perhaps, happened in the fall, in September. Maybe he was replaying a September song he once wrote.

September means new changes, especially this year. Kids are in school and not in school. College students are enjoying those very first memorable days of meeting new friends, new teachers, taking new classes, and beginning those first steps that someone undoubtedly spoke about during their high school graduation exercise. Even in the era of COVID-19, new and exciting things are happening. Like that old man on the bench, we just have to close our eyes and write our own September song or replay one that we already wrote.

In 1969 Lisa Minnelli starred in a movie, The Sterile Cuckoo. It was about two young people going off to their first year in college. They meet on the bus and develop a relationship. Although their colleges are miles apart, they find time to meet to write their September song.

The theme song for the movie was “Come Saturday Morning” sung by the Sandpipers.

Come Saturday morning

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I’m goin’ away with my friend

We’ll Saturday-spend ’til the end of the day-ay

Just I and my friend

We’ll travel for miles in our Saturday smiles

And then we’ll move on

But we will remember

Long after Saturday’s gone.

One’s imagination is a fascinating creation. We can just about do anything with it when we close our eyes. We can, if we choose, spend an entire day with a friend.

I didn’t know my wife, Kathy, during my college days. She attended a big college in Michigan and I went to a little college in Iowa. I would have loved to have taken smiling Saturday walks together. I can picture it so clearly—holding hands, kicking away leaves on the sidewalk, stopping to have a coke, talking about professors and classes and roommates, smelling the wonders of fall and anticipating other moments like this.

Had we gone together in college, maybe our relationship wouldn’t have lasted. Maybe, like in The Sterile Cuckoo, we would have moved on with just those Saturday walks to remember.

What would be in your September song? We all have one. When we tap our imagination, it’s right there. Can you touch it? Can you feel it? Can you smell it? Of most importance, can you see it?

If I were still teaching I would have my students write about their September song. I would have them describe what they are seeing. Why is their song important to them? What are their emotions? Does it seem real?

One of my September songs occurs after an afternoon football game. I would meet Kathy under a tree in a park. I would have a mum ready to pin on her. She would be wearing a dark plaid skirt and a navy blue sweater. I would be wearing a navy blue sport coat with a V-neck gray sweater and a short sleeve blue shirt with gray pants.

The sun is still shining making the fall colors as brilliant as they could be. We would talk about the game, just a little. We would be holding hands, walk a little, sit on a park bench and watch the people milling around after the game. I would look at her, she would look at me. We would smile. I would softly kiss her on the cheek.

Come Saturday morning

I’m goin’ away with my friend

We’ll Saturday-laugh more than half of the day

Just I and my friend

Life goes on. How many times have we said that? When you write your September song, the beauty of it is that it doesn’t have to move on. For that moment in time, time stands still like that one leaf on the tree that doesn’t want to fall. Your September song can be as short or as long as you want it to be.

Even though Kathy and I were not together in college, we still enjoyed some Saturday mornings together before we were married. When Kathy would come to Montevideo from her village of Young in Uruguay, I would be waiting for her at the bus stop. I would watch her get off the bus, look around and then she would see me and that was the beginning of our September song.

I believe all of us are romantics if we choose to be. Maybe that’s one of the requirements of being a writer. Even those September song Saturdays have come and gone, I will always remember them to be sung and played whenever I choose. I hope you have many September songs and I hope you take time to sing them and play them whenever you choose.

Dressed up in our rings and our Saturday things

And then we’ll move on

But we will remember

Long after Saturday’s gone.

Riddle: What did Cinderella say when her photos were not ready? (Answer: Some day my “prince” will come.) The beauty about a September song is that our prince or princess will come whenever we choose them to come.

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John R. Eggers of Bemidji is a former university professor and area principal. He also is a writer and public speaker.