You know what’s coming up this week? That’s right: It’s the event I always think of as Bartles & Jaymes Day.
Bartles & Jaymes was the brand of wine coolers that made some of the best TV commercials of the Eighties — deadpan, droll, and as dry as their product was sweet.
In one springtime ad, the actor playing “Frank Bartles” (the speaking half of the duo) talked about seeing a calendar with the words “Vernal Equinox” on it.
“We went to school with old Vernal,” the actor playing Frank declared as his partner “Ed Jaymes” looked on, “and we’re proud to see he’s made a name for himself.”
Ever since then, the arrival of spring in my chosen hemisphere has made me think of those long-ago ads, even if I do not choose to celebrate it with cloying, effervescent fruit-flavored beverages.
(I was surprised to discover in my research that the Bartles & Jaymes brand still exists, though nowadays it uses bland beachfront imagery in its marketing. Who woulda thunk that a party-time beverage aimed at young people would reach its biggest success using two frumpy old guys?)
Spring means more than wine coolers, of course. It means slowly increasing warmth, and the arrival of crocuses, and the re-emergence of green, and the blowing of a bunch of wind, and the relegation of tuques and gloves to the back of the closet for another year.
And baseball. Heavens, yes, it means baseball.
The vernal equinox apparently meant something to my grandpa too, because he delighted in chronicling it on his calendar.
Sure, he used more or less the same drawing year after year. But the frequency and detail of that drawing indicate that he had some special feeling for the arrival of spring — some degree of joy that other holidays did not occasion.
(It also made him giddy to the point of doggerel, as we’ll see.)
Here’s wishing a warm, enjoyable spring to one and all. The days are getting longer and the leaves are getting ready to come out. The sustained warmth of summer will be here before we know it.
And that’s worth drinking to — no matter how you fill your glass.