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It’s the most wonderful time of the year. The overused phrase is often attributed to the time of year when Maryville looks like the set of a sequel to “The Revenant” where Leonardo DiCaprio treks through the terrible ice-laden parking lot of Taco Bell to get to Taco John’s. However, here in the heart of rural northwestern Missouri, the beginning of classes is truly a magical season.

All of the best parts of living in this slice of heaven disappear during summer vacation but every August they make their triumphant return.

The big truck and motorcycle guys are back — I know because I hear them all hours of the day — revving their engines past Roberta, hoping a sophomore in a sorority will realize that what she is missing in her life was a man wearing a Busch Light cutoff and jorts on a green street bike.

The 100-level professors with no empathy have also returned in full force. They can’t wait to tell every student in their class they have a zero-tolerance policy on late work but will themselves be unable to grade your midterm before finals week.

Last, but certainly not least, are those I classify as “close acquaintances.” People who would never hang out with me and I would never intentionally hang out with either, but we are loosely connected through our major or mutual friends. Every conversation goes the same, with a generic greeting and the one conversation topic we have in common before uncomfortable silence. Man, I missed those guys.

All the hallmarks — see what I did there because the company Hallmark makes greeting cards and ornaments for Christmas — are upon us that Maryville is back to its best. So, try to enjoy it while it lasts.

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