Ode to October

Autumn has arrived,  heralded by a brilliant Harvest Moon. That fat orange orb sometimes appears in late September, usually in early October,  and we see it again in November as we offer up thanks for our many blessings.  October is my favorite  of all the Fall months,  the mellowest of months when our busy lives slow down after an active summer.  We welcome an opportunity to rest and gather ourselves together for the holidays and the demanding winter to come.

The Harvest Moon reminds us of October fun;  hayrides, corn mazes and heaps of leaves raked up, just to be jumped into.  And do you remember bonfires, what fun they were, and how they always filled the air with such great smells?  The Harvest Moon  inspired one of the good old songs too, a standard at every Sing-a-long since.  “Shine On, Shine On”

Our landscape rapidly turns from rich greens to glowing yellows, oranges, reds and gentle  brown.  The chrysanthemums wear their October colors. As the days shorten, the farmers reap the last of their harvest,  and the fields, lawns and bulbs rest until Spring.  The kiddies are happy to be back in school, at least most of them are,  and we adults can grab a little extra snooze in the mornings and  enjoy the cozy evenings with popcorn in front of the fireplaces.

Everything smells and tastes like pumpkin,  spice , and every variety of apples,  fresh fragrant apples that crackle when you bite into them .  We’re ready for hearty soups, stews and chili.  Iced tea has given way to freshly pressed cider and hot chocolate.  Fall squashes appear on our tables, along with other seasonal favorites.

The BBQ tools and  camping gear,  the air conditioner,  the pool and all the summer toys have been stored and the lawn mower is parked next to the snow blower, each waiting for it’s season.  The skis and skates haven’t been brought out yet and the sleds still hang on the garage wall.  Sunburns have long since peeled and faded,  sandals have been traded for shoes and boots, and swimsuits for sweaters.

The vacationing relatives  have all returned home, not to be seen again until the holidays when they’ll descend again like locusts , ready for another round of  “just dropping by”  for weeks at a time.

And on the very last day of October ,this mellow month has one final gift for us … Hallowe’en … that rowdy, semi-spooky celebration beloved by children and the young at heart.  We love the costumes, the garish decorations and the cries of  “Trick or Treat” echoing throughout he neighborhood as darkness settles.

Hallowe’en is believed to be based on the ancient pagan holiday of SAMFHAIN, the Celtic New Year.  This was a harvest festival dating from the 700s A.D. , rife with superstitions  meant to ward off ghosts  and welcome the darkness of the coming season

But right now  it’s party time,  launching us into the busy weeks ahead. Let’s grab our masks and go Trick-or-Treating!

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The Happiest Love Songs

“Love, Love, Hooray For Love,  Who Was Ever Too Blase For Love?”

Love songs should all be happy.  You want to belt them out with so much energy and enthusiasm  that everyone  joins in. They  never get old.

Thinking back to the 1930s, ‘40s, and ‘50s,  who could ever forget a song like “Hooray For Love?”  The  lyrics were written by the great Harold Arlen, who also wrote a little something called “Over The Rainbow.”  The second line in “Hooray For Love,”   “Who Was Ever Too Blase For Love?”  has to be one of the most delightful lines in popular music. The imagination that wrote the word “blase”  into a love song and made it work is what made Arlen such a great songwriter.

There were so many other talented  songwriters of that era . We can all recall  Cole Porter,  George Gershwin,  Irving Berlin,  Jerome Kern,  Rodgers and Hart, and Oscar Hammerstein,  and the list goes on.  They turned out one unforgettable song after another.

Maybe it was the times,  the Great Depression followed by  World War Two,  that gave us such an appreciation for simple, joyous music. The promise of sunshine and silver linings ahead kept us going through a lot of very dark days.  Whatever the reason, those songwriters knew how to cheer up an entire nation with their words and music.  Funny, isn’t it,  how the spirit of an era could be lifted by a few happy songs.

Remember  “Get Happy,”  “Old Black Magic,”  “Million Dollar Baby In The Five And Ten Cent Store,”  “You’re The Tops,” or  “ It’s Delightful, It’s Delovely?”   and how about  “Steppin’ Out With My Baby,” ” You Are My Lucky Star,”  and  “Fit As A Fiddle And Ready For Love?”

The smiles just kept coming.  Who could forget  “ Oh, Mama, It’s The Butcher Boy For Me,”   “A Bushel And A Peck,”  or  “Buttons And Bows?”  Some of the most memorable songs came out of World War Two,  such as  “Jeepers Creepers,”  and  “Don’t Sit Under The Apple Tree.”

And what about the  happiest, most exuberant  love song of them all?  Written in 1929 and made famous in 1952 with lyrics by Arthur Freed and music by Nacio Herb Brown,  it made every one of us want to run out,  splash in rain puddles and swing around lampposts.  As danced and sung by the one and only Gene Kelly,  “Singin’ In The Rain”  had to be the most unforgettable, inspirational, lighthearted love song of  all time.

If  “Singin’ In The Rain”  doesn’t cheer you up,  nothing will!!

“What A Wonderful Feeling To Be Happy Again!”