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An ode to fall

This week’s column is dedicated to family, Halloween, all those previous columns that never quite made it.

The column started as an ‘I love fall’ idea, but I quickly nixed that when I remembered that I love spring and summer too. I even love winter when it snows. The rain is OK, but not something I would write a column about.

There was the column about May being my favorite month, which actually made it pretty far in the writing process before good sense came back. The idea was that May had all these unique things I like – sunshine, baseball, my birthday. It was an ill-fated effort from the start. My editor somehow managed to stifle her chuckles until I announced to the newsroom, ‘this column is junk!’

Then there was the column about summer being the greatest season, Fourth of July being the greatest holiday. Again, I knew it was a half-hearted effort to spin a column out of something not really that interesting.

But I do love fall. The air turns crisp. Football gets interesting. The World Series plays out in riveting fashion every year.

By the way, how often do you see two games end in such a weird and unpredictable fashion as Games 3 and 4 between the Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals?

First, an obstruction call cements itself as a truly bizarre way to finish a game. Then, a runner gets picked off first base to end Game 4.

At least things evened out a little in the end. Writing before the start of Game 5 at press time, I will say I predict Boston to win this series in seven games.

So that brings us to Halloween. I don’t really like Halloween for some reason. Perhaps it is the pressure of finding a costume that is both original and within my price range, which usually means free. I will leave this to the last moment, then feel a wave of guilt overriding my better sense just to stay home and eat popcorn.

But memories of Halloweens past keep me coming back for more because Halloween is what you make it, really.

There was the one year I lived on the Northern California coast and visited Fortuna, which had a really interesting downtown and cemetery. I saw a play on Halloween and visited the old cemetery at the top of the hill. The headstones allowed me to wonder about the lives that had lived before me. Were they happy in their lives? What were their worries? Hopes? Dreams? I wonder if I could relate to them if they were still alive.

Another year, I went to a cemetery in Grenada, Spain, on the Day of the Dead, or Dia de Muertos. It was a spectacle of color as family members brought flowers and offerings to their loved ones on this special day, which takes place the day after Halloween, or All Hallows Eve.

I found it a much more appropriate way to celebrate the day, by remembering loved ones rather than the annual ritual of costumes and candy that America has invented.

No doubt about it, though, fall is in the air.

However you spend your Halloween – with friends, kids or grandkids – or watching a movie on Netflix – make it a safe and happy one.



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