Carnes: Laborious tenacity of white

We are told by high society that, due to pretentious social etiquette reasons from well over a hundred years ago, the wearing of anything white after Labor Day signifies one as unbecoming of the upper class, thus no longer worthy of invitation to the upcoming polo match.

Or something gauche like that, for I do believe a great deal has been lost in the translation over the last century or so.

Yet we all hear the annual comments from those intent on keeping the rest of us pompously aware of class-based babble, similar to one wearing socks with sandals or pajamas while shopping (beware, Wal-Mart shoppers).

Last weekend was also the time to enjoy JazzFest over in Snowmass (it’s Aspen-ish but with a real ski mountain), where bands enthralled the masses with three days and nights of classic jazz tunes by the likes of The Lumineers, Billy Idol and the Foo Fighters.

It reminded me of back in ’98 at one of Beaver Creek’s early Oktoberfest attempts where we danced the polka all afternoon to the well-known Bavarian “Oompah” tunes of Loverboy (yes, Loverboy, the Canadian rockers famous during the Reagan years).

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But at least Happy Valley does it correctly now, as last weekend’s 29th Vail Jazz Festival had performers actually playing real jazz, you know, horns and stuff.

But for me the time after Labor Day is reserved for the important things in life, like coffee houses and breweries offering pumpkin-spiced drinks and grocery stores supplying pumpkin-spiced pumpkins. Some instead choose to peruse social media and newspaper ads for all the “After Labor Day Sale!” deals, which are the exact same as the “Labor Day Sale” deals just with fewer words.

Personally, I think it’s time to blow out the sprinkler system, put away the deck furniture and — sadly — put the golf clubs in the closet where they can finally rest and cool down from the constant beating they’ve endured over the past few months. And while in that same closet, look at my skis and try to remember if I had them tuned at the end of last season or was going to wait until the beginning of this one.

If you’re one of those still in possession of a wood-burning fireplace, now is the time to start collecting or purchasing firewood, and please remember to open the flue but close the windows at night so you don’t wake up at 3 a.m. feeling like you’re in a tent just below tree line.

For some, it’s time to plan that final campout, hike or bike ride, while others begin making plans for Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas, or perhaps declaring this will be the year you actually buy proper Bavarian-based clothing for Vail’s Oktoberfest celebrations over the next two weeks.

And, although hard to fathom, there will always be those who actually enjoy the bi-annual time guaranteed to bring family gatherings to an abrupt halt: campaign season. 

For me, while I’m sad indictment season appears to be coming to an end (the playoffs should be highly entertaining though), football season is here, both college and NFL, and the color change over the next few weeks brightens just about anyone’s worldview, even those living in a deep conspiracy theory haze of MAGA ignorance.

But either way, regardless of who avoids wearing white beginning this week, the happiest season of all has been and will forever remain my personal favorite: the next one.

Richard Carnes, of Avon, writes weekly. He can be reached at

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