Monday, October 19, 2015

Only in October ~ my column from Sunday's paper

NOTE: This column grew out of a short post from last week.

The month of October is not for pluviophiles (people who love rainy days) because it’s one of the driest months in the South. But it’s probably the favorite month of the “philes” that love sunsets because without rain clouds obscuring the evening skies, the sun shows out.

October tantalizes all the senses. Driving home one evening earlier this week, a neighbor was burning autumn leaves. I’m not a fan of most kinds of smoke, but the aroma of burning leaves on the evening breeze is blissful.

A family cookout is on the calendar for my great nephew Stone’s birthday in a few weeks. We’re doing a chili cook-off in the evening, and we’ll eat outside while enjoying the warmth of the fire pit.

Most years, our apple tree is loaded with fruit that’s at its peak in October.

Last year we had a hayride and stopped the wagon beneath the branches of the apple tree so that the kids could stand up and pluck softball-sized apples from low-hanging limbs. If you’ve never experienced the sweet juice of a freshly picked apple, you haven’t lived fully. Our tree decided to take this year off so there’s not a single apple that made it through spring and summer.

October is not all fun and games because that’s when the flu bug seems to take root. So as a rule, I get a flu shot each October.

This year was no different, but when I ran by the local pharmacy yesterday for the shot, the clerk got a snippy little message on his screen that read “Not Approved.” I was a little perplexed because I’d gotten the shot there last year.

They said no problem; they’d file it another way. It’s easy to grow impatient waiting for the rusty gears of the system to turn, but I sat to the side and waited. Some of the techniques picked up in my recent online meditation course came in handy.

Instead of getting all stompy-footy (is that a word?) and huff up a lung, I sat there and breathed. I knew my daily walk would be delayed and that daylight was waning, but worse things could be happening to me. That lesson became clear a few moments later.

An elderly lady who looked gravely ill took a seat nearby while one of her grandkids (I’m guessing) stood at the counter and handled the transaction. She was shadow thin with dark circles under her eyes. It’s hard to know her story, but I feel sure the last few months have not been kind to her. She sat there uncomplaining as her gears began slowly turning.

The clerks behind the counter were scurrying about trying to work out the kinks in my issue, but rather than have them frazzled and have the lady beside me wait a second longer than necessary, I told them I’d call the insurance company later and work out the problem.

As I turned to walk toward my truck, I smiled at my chair-buddy and said a silent prayer for her.

Once home, I grabbed my spider stick and headed out for a short walk.

At one point down close to the barn, the sun in a last-ditch effort threw spears of light through the undergrowth and in those few moments created a sumac sunset. I thought to myself — only in October.


  1. It's been a long time since I plucked an apple from a tree. Too long.

  2. October is a pretty wonderful month... it's crisp and colorful, yet we can still enjoy outdoor activities like hayrides and fires from the firepit xox

    I hope the lady was able to get some help, it's great you decided to come back, you were able to enjoy a great walk :-)

  3. I think nothing tastes better than an apple right from the tree. I do hope the lady will be OK. It does put things in perspective. It also taught you how to use your meditation

  4. Apples and peanut butter is one of my favorite snacks.

  5. The beginning of October here was nice and warm and we had many lovely days, It turned colder over the weekend and outdoor activities are now limited. But all and all I do agree it is a wonderful month.

  6. Nice column.... I hope you don't get the flu. I remember the tree ripen apples from my childhood...
    I love the month of October but October always has some tricks it likes to spring on us, like bursts of cold north winds, heavy rain, early frost but October makes up for it by it's beautiful show of colors.

    Come to think of it, October is most kind as it tries to prepare us as gently as it can for what is coming later. That cold burst of wind and snowflakes is telling us, dig out your winter clothes , Winter is not that far away. The stove gets lit and the wood smoke rises and and gardeners are scurrying to tidy the gardens for winter.
    You got to love October.

  7. Anonymous1:58 PM

    That looks like a painting--it's lovely!!

  8. What a 'sweet' read. A great column, I loved the lines about the hay ride and kids picking apples. That and the burning leaves made the column come alive. Good stuff.
    From Florida

  9. I get a flu shot each year, this year for some reason the doctor asked me why I get it, I said I have no idea,so I don't get the flu, he didn't think I was funny, only some people are eligible to get a free flu shot like those over 65 or those who work with children or have certain medical conditions really I don't know why I get it I am not over 65 I am only 52 and I don't work with children on the public except unless you count my grandchildren who I am always around but honestly I don't give this much thought, he gave the the shot and I was happy

  10. October is my favorite month. You get a real menu of different weather patterns up here. We had snow flakes in the air on Saturday and sunshine with a high of 72 today. Walking to my car after work I spied a kite flying in the sky near the hospital. I can't help but smile when seeing a kite in the air and today was the perfect day for it. The colors are inspiring..I always want to paint a wall a shade of orange this month! I'm not a fan of the flu shot. I'm a pretty healthy person but the hospital gives you no option....get it or get I sucked it up again this year and got the stupid thing...and got sick from it and a swollen arm that itched for a week..but I guess it will keep me from contaminating others as my supervisors put it. Really? I hope you have a wonderful day and rest of this week and the October weather keeps a smile on your face! ( I need to learn the meditation trick while getting my shot!)


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