An Ode to October


“I want all the kids to do what I do, to look up to me. I want all the kids to copulate me.” -Chicago Cubs outfielder Andre Dawson on being a role model

You're also high in Niacin and Iron

Fall is here. I love it. Most people prefer spring or summer; I’m a fall/winter gal. Less bugs, less pollen, less swimsuits, and a LOT less heat. How do I love the month of October? Let me count the ways:

Baseball playoffs and the World Series

A-Rod gets A-Face Plant

Baseball is no longer the Great American Pastime. I accept that. But just because everyone else loves NCAA and NFL football this time of year (and I doggedly keep watching too), I still enjoy my baseball. There’s something about the game that’s more about strategy, and patience, and out-clevering your opponent out there on the diamond. I’ve never missed a World Series since childhood, and I don’t intend to miss one now. There’s an interesting story every year, whether it’s the prospect of October baseball in Minneapolis or Denver, or old rivals colliding, or an unlikely hero (this Sox fan still can’t look at Aaron Effin’ Boone the same way on Baseball Tonight.) There’s still a few characters in the old ball game, too…Ozzie Guillen leaps to mind. And despite the falling ratings and the endless PED debates, I can’t get enough of it. Especially during the playoffs, when a few good pitchers and defense is all you need.

Produce stands and pumpkin patches

Paging the Great Pumpkin...

One of my earliest, and fondest, memories involves going to a pumpkin patch in first grade. It wasn’t the getting out of school part, but being turned loose in a field and hunting down that perfect orange gourd to take home, gut, and decorate for Halloween. Nothing says fall like the smell of a turned field, homemade apple cider, and of course, pumpkins. They have their own unique smell, which isn’t a good smell or a bad smell…it just is. I attribute my love of pumpkins in part to my love of all things Peanuts, including the classic It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown! I still have been known to sit up late at night waiting for him to make his appearance. He always intrigued me a lot more than Santa Claus, for sure.

Indian Summer days and cool nights

Over the river, and through the woods...

There is no other time of year that is so perfect for outdoor pursuits. The leaves are still on the trees, and for a short time, in so many glorious shades of warm red and orange and gold. Whether you like to hike in the woods, canoe on the lake, or ride a horse, fall is like Baby Bear’s porridge…not too hot and not too cold, but “just right.” If you like camping, who doesn’t enjoy sitting around a campfire with a strong cup of coffee and a S’more? Even if you’re staying home, why not open the window a bit at night and turning off the A/C for a change? Enjoy that temperate weather, because winter’s right around the corner. Note to vacationers: it’s also the best time of year to take that special trip, since the kids are back in school and everyone else is vacation-weary from summer.

Halloween!

They were out of Na’Vi costumes at Walgreens, Mom…

Riddle me this: name if you can, an occasion upon which it’s acceptable for sane, normal adults to put on outfits and pretend that they’re Catwoman, a jester, a Hershey’s Kiss, a bottle of mustard(?) and not get laughed at or thrown in jail? If you’re a regular American, chances are you thought of Halloween. And that’s terrific. Who wouldn’t love a holiday that involves silly costumes, ridiculously clever accessories, scaring the crap out of little kids, and snack-size Three Musketeers by the pound? You had me at “silly costumes.” Not sure what I’m going to be this year, but I’m sure it’ll thrill and amaze us all.

Hayrides, Haunted Houses and Corn Mazes

Nice hay bales, Jack...

I’m a little old-school on this one. Like the pumpkin patch, these evoke real, tangible memories for me. I don’t mind the tractor-drawn hayrides, but I much prefer the old-fashioned, horse-powered ones. Seems that a lot of local places are starting to pick up on an old favorite and offer “themed” hayrides (The Hermitage and the Sam Davis Home notable have hosted them.) Nothing like the soft clip-clop of a horse’s hooves, the rumble of wagon wheels, and the whisper of cornstalks to get you in that fall frame of mind. I’m not crazy about haunted houses…in fact, I don’t scare easily…but I try to visit a new one each year. The corn maze, on the other hand? Don’t get me in one after dark, or I’ll start having flashbacks to the movie Signs, which I still can’t watch without the lights on.

Pre-Christmas Rush Shopping

I'm an Autumn Reindeer...

Not sure about everyone else, but I can’t get into the Christmas frame of mind until the temperature hovers around 40 and the sun sets before 5 PM. What I can do is take advantage of the relatively slow month of October, and the joys of browsing nearly empty stores on a Tuesday night, in October to buy all my Christmas gifts. Then, once that’s done, the weekends can be set aside for baseball, hot cider, and The A-Team. That’s called a win-win situation…just don’t get me started on all those retailers who put out their Christmas planograms when it’s still 80 degrees outside.

And last but certainly not least?

The Return of the Plaid Flannel Blankies

Tartan of the Clan MacMurdock

If you don’t have one of these (and a Snuggie does NOT count), you don’t know what you’re  missing. Even if you’re single, nothing beats cudding with one of these. Pure bliss!

Comments? Thoughts? I’d love to hear them! Drop me a line at wikusandmurdock@yahoo.com!

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~ by Howlin' Mad Heather on September 28, 2010.

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