The day after Labor Day was a happy, happy time for my father. He rose with a spring in his step, plugged in the percolator, and as the aroma of coffee filled our living space, he'd step to the bottom of the staircase. Upstairs my sisters and I slept. But not for long. At the top of his lungs he'd boom in an uneven baritone the chorus to Irving Berlin's song, "Oh! How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning."
It was the first day of school, you see, and the end to our beloved summer vacation. As we grumbled and moaned, he'd chuckle, clearly delighted with our misery. I know this is strange, but I remember this yearly event with fondness. Why he was so happy to see us return to school, I don't know, since it was our mother who was stuck with us all summer. Maybe it was because most every morning, year in and year out, he was required to put on a suit and tie and commute to a job that he didn't much like. Maybe. Or maybe he just enjoyed teasing his children.
What stays with me, though, is the joy in his voice as he sang those words. And so, to all the kids out there waking up on the morning of their first day back to school, in honor of my father, I sing these words to you:
Oh! how I hate to get up in the morning,
Oh! how I'd love to remain in bed;
For the hardest blow of all, is to hear the bugler call;
You've got to get up, you've got to get up
You've got to get up this morning!
Some day I'm going to murder the bugler,
Some day they're going to find him dead;
I'll amputate his reveille, and step upon it heavily,
And spend the rest of my life in bed.