Months of the year act like old friends

BY BOB WACHS, News + Record Staff
Posted 10/25/19

Is it just me or do the months of the year at times seem to take on a life of their own?

It’s almost as if they have personalities, it seems, and those personalities then affect us.

January …

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Months of the year act like old friends

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Is it just me or do the months of the year at times seem to take on a life of their own?

It’s almost as if they have personalities, it seems, and those personalities then affect us.

January and February, for instance, aren’t very hospitable. They drive us indoors for the most part and can be pretty cold. I like homemade soup but sometimes in those months I’m not the usual warm and fuzzy self I’ve come to know and love.

April and May, on the other hand, fairly sing for joy at the prospect of new life and I’m reborn at the prospect of starting over and doing better.

In time comes the heat of July and August and life in general can become heavy and oppressive, sweaty even, and not only does my Right Guard break down but so can my patience.

If we stick with the calendar, though, we can know that after fall comes the holiday seasons. Call me old-fashioned, conservative, narrow-minded, ignorant or whatever, but I don’t look at “the holidays” as one three-month long event. Rather, they are separate and distinct happenings even though retail stores would tell us differently.

For instance, I don’t consider Halloween to be either an evil thing or on an equal footing with those times that come in November and December. Sure, it can be made into something sinister but so can almost anything else. I still like candy and like to see what comes home in baskets and buckets and I like to see my grands dressed in their costumes, ranging from what my one-time Little Guy now a teen wore in his Scooby-Do costume, the second one he’d had in his short life since he outgrew the first one, to the alligator and Wonder Woman worn last year by a couple of the princesses.

November gives us Thanksgiving and although I’m into Christmas, in some ways this is my favorite. Football and turkey aside, Thanksgiving gives us the opportunity to call time out, if we will, and let some things soak in. The bad thing is that most stores can’t wait for Halloween candy and costumes to be over before they put out the Christmas stuff. Some places even have it out now.

And while we’re on the subject of the December holiday, it still is and always will be “Merry Christmas” for me and not “Happy Holidays” and that evergreen that graces our living room is not a “holiday tree.” For the life of me I don’t see why that’s such a stink. I don’t tell my Jewish friends they can’t do “Hanukah” and last time I looked, “Ramadan” was on my calendar for the folks who follow Islam.

Having said all that there’s one more time on the calendar that speaks to me and I just sort of realized that it’s right now.

October has come to be sort of a bitter-sweet time around the ol’ castle. I love the crisp nights, sleeping with the window up and hearing the sounds of night and the geese on their non-stops farther south. Mother Nature has once again done the best she could with a pastel of colors in the woods, given the drought we endured recently. And the smell of burning wood is about as good as it gets. It’s a wonderful month.

But it also brings up some memories that tug at the heart. I won’t go into the full list here — it’s too long — but every October makes me think of my dad.

He would have been 107 if he’d made it to October 22 this year. I didn’t really expect him to get there and it was becoming pretty apparent that he wasn’t going to but I didn’t expect him to die the day he did, Oct. 2.

I got over being mad at him for doing that, especially since I didn’t get to tell him goodbye or that I loved him. I’m pretty sure — actually, downright sure — he knew that but I would like to have told him one more time.

These days, I’m not mad...I just miss him. He’s left me some reminders. I have his aching joints, his cufflinks, pictures, the old debit book from his days peddling insurance. I’ve got a picture of him when he was 4 or 5 hanging on the wall over my desk. He’s imprinted himself on my nature; I quote him often now without realizing it or giving him credit for what I say. I tell stories, sometimes over and over, often to the same people, even. Usually they’re kind and don’t remind me or wonder if I’m becoming senile.

I try to remember the good, to look forward to life and that usually works. But sometimes when the winds of October blow, when the leaves turn loose from where they lived in the summer, when the smoke is billowing from the wood stove I think of him.

And I still shed a tear.

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