Don’t you love the ellipses? If you don’t get it, go back to English 9 with your Warriner’s Grammar and your Voyages in English and come back to me when you can end a sentence without landing on a preposition, trampy. I have titled this entry “When October Goes…” because it is early November and I haven’t written anything in a while. Now seemed like as good a time as any to press anew, as they say, and I’ve had a beautiful piece of music stuck in my head for a couple of weeks. It is called, as you can tell, “When October Goes”. It’s from Barry Manilow’s 1984 concept album of smokey jazz songs called 2AM, Paradise Cafe. The album was a collaboration between Manilow and jazz greats Mel Torme, Sarah Vaughn, and others. The most interesting work is the end to the first set (they were called Set 1 and Set 2, not sides). A year or so before recording, the widow of great American songwriter Johnny Mercer (“Stardust”, “Moon River”, “Summer Wind”) had given Manilow a box of old song lyrics her husband had penned but never shopped around to composers. Seems he was a fan of Manilow’s style and she felt he would have wanted Barry to do something with these poems. “When October Goes” is truly a haunting piece of music and always seems to describe my mood, my life toward the latter half of Autumn — reflexive, hopeful, a little sad and then… time to move on. My favorite time of year is almost upon us! Let’s discuss.
Halloween came and went. I feel as though this deserves its own entry complete with pictures so we’ll have to come back to that one. Turning the calendar to the eleventh month… There’s that ellipses again! First, the most erotic holiday in Japan made its appearance on our shores yet again. I’m talking about Election Day. Clever, huh? If you have to ask, you never met my dad. My sister, Barbara, and I are huge politics junkies. She had remarked to me a month earlier about how much of a shame it was that I couldn’t hang out at her house on the night of the elections as we had done in years past. We would watch coverage until the wee hours, posturing on different scenarios, making fun of candidates names, eating pizza, making pots of coffee, smoking our reds, and laughing at the state of affairs of our country. How could I turn that down? Well, we live four hours apart, that’s how. However, Karla convinced me that it was the right thing to do. She would be OK without me for a night. I coordinated with Barbara’s husband, Ron, and surprised my sister with an Election Night visit. I left school at 2:30 in Maryland and pulled up in front of her house in New Jersey at 6:45. Calling from my car I asked “Are you having a party tonight?” She replied “Yeah, for myself…” “Really? For yourself only? That’s kind of selfish, you Tea Party Whore.” “What?!” “I don’t know. Open your door.” “What? Really? You’re out- Oh my God!” By 2:15 AM I was scowling angrily, in my best Lisa Murkowski, acting out a stump speech about how to spell her name properly for the write-in ballot and — what’s that? You don’t give a rat’s ass? And this is why our country is in the state it’s in. Not enough of us get “into” politics like me and Barbara. The next morning, on very little sleep, I drove home. First, though, I must admit that I have quit smoking in all but social situations. Before you laugh this off and say “But you’re a cocktail party circuit socialite! Surely it’s ALWAYS a social situation for you” know that I have indeed limited myself to official parties and actual nights out which don’t happen that often. I had purchased a pack for myself in VA to avoid paying Jersey prices. Before I left for my return trip my mom walked into Barbara’s house for her morning visit and put down a pack of my cigs on the counter in front of me. “What’s that?” I asked. “Well, I was paying for the half and half with my card and apparently you have to make a minimum purchase so I threw in a pack for you but I forgot you quit. You don’t have to take them if you’d rather not.” “Lady”, I said, “I quit primarily for the cost. I’ll take ’em.” Always nice to get a surprise like that. Still scratching your head over the Japanese holiday comment, aren’t you?…
Upon returning home I encountered my children with Bridget on the front lawn doing one of my favorite fall activities — raking the leaves! When they saw my car pull up Ben and Rita both stopped in their tracks (he was about to jump in a small pile of leaves) and started jumping up and down excitedly. I love this. Unfortunately, by Wednesday evening not a whole lotta’ leaves had taken their spiral journey to the ground so there wasn’t much to do. Also, Thursday and Friday were rainy and windy. This is great for getting the leaves off the trees but bad for getting them off the ground. But Saturday… Saturday was glorious! The weather was perfect — high in the 40’s, crisp, clear, dry. Benny and I went out into the yard and began to rake. When I’d finish raking I’d hand him the rake and he’d have fun demonstrating to me his ability. I’d pick up the leaf blower and chase him around the yard. Screams of laughter all around. We have over ten large trees that dump leaves into our modest back yard. As a kid I hated yard work but there’s something about actually owning the property that gives me a sense of pride and purpose in doing this sort of stuff now. Also, the fact that I caught a glimpse of my reflection in the window as I was raking and realized that I looked damn good doing manual labor was great inspiration to keep going. Did I mention I might have been hungover from Election Night still? “Hey Ben! Daddy’s got five piles with your name on them! Hurry up!” Surprisingly I had found a can of spray paint and actually written his name on the piles. I completely lied about that part. Back to the trees… The last time I did this (two years ago, last year we had someone do it for us since we were close to Rita’s due date and very busy with other things) I filled 30 thirty-gallon compost bags! This time out my son and I filled 15. I think that’s because they’re not completely done falling.
Should he go on? You’re just getting that Japan joke, huh? We’re going on…
That evening Karla and I took advantage of having Bridget stay with us to leave the kids with her while we went out to celebrate Theresa’s birthday. We were to meet up with Matt and Theresa, Bit and Pete, and Joseph and Diane. Knowing that we were going to Jackson’s I decided to get all tarted up. I wore an awesome pair of jeans and matched it with the 70’s shirt I was supposed to have worn to our party a few weeks earlier had it arrived in time. At a place like this I knew no one would look especially because I was going to wear the hell out of this shirt. I owned it like it was something in my possession. As we were leaving the house Karla and I discussed the possibilities. “Do you think anyone will notice the shirt?” “If anyone” she said “Pete will say something but it’s OK. I think you look hot.” I completely lied about that last part. Imagine my surprise, then, when I wore it a little too well. I must have looked really good in that shirt or the bartenders were mixing extra strong that night. In fact, the only person to comment was the birthday girl herself. Theresa turned to Karla (I found this out later) and said “That shirt looks good. It’s part of a costume, right? I wish he would have worn the whole thing so we could see it.”
So that’s what happens when October goes. Then again, if I took my cues from Johnny Mercer and Barry Manilow I’d be starting on an incomplete thought. You haven’t gone and listened to the song yet? Go here and do so now.
Oh how I hate to see October go… Ellipses!