Thoughts by Richard Bleil
Welcome to October, or as I like to call it, “Rocktober”. This is, in my mind’s eye, the start of the entire holiday seasons. So many people enjoy jumping right to Christmas, but I feel like this is a mistake. There are so many holidays, both non-religious and holidays of several religions beyond Christmas. We get to celebrate the only day we were kind to the Native Americans before slaughtering them and taking their land with a feast much larger than is healthy. We celebrate another complete rotation around the sun alive. And, of course, my all time favorite holiday when we get to dress up into any fantasy we want to live, a celebration of all things ghoulish.
Rocktober is the first month of the fall. Officially it began a couple of week ago, but as I’m writing this, next week (the last week of September) is supposed to be quite warm. A last blast of summer, I suppose. I was recently speaking with a friend (yes, I have a friend) who tells me that autumn is her favorite season. It’s getting cooler, the leaves are changing, and the colors are stunning. Personally, Spring is my favorite season, getting out after being cooped up after a long winter, but autumn is a close second.
When I was living in New England, the fall colors are so important culturally that they would take time out of the local weather report to show the band of color as it moved further and further south. There were actually three brands, the outside showing good color, and the middle one of maximum fall colors. Out in the Black Hills of South Dakota, I don’t remember seeing a similar report, but the fall colors were also stunning.
With Autumn, the orange cones of spring will hopefully be disappearing. The city has stripped and repaved the streets in my neighborhood, creating a nightmare for getting in and out, but the work was desperately needed. A few days ago I installed a new mailbox (also a desperately needed repair) as the crews came by cleaning the cracks and tarring them. They feathered the tar with toilet paper, which I found interesting. I never would have thought about it, but toilet paper is biodegradable, so it’s a great way to protect cars from getting the tar on it.
You may have noticed that roads take a beating in the winter. Much of the damage, cracks and potholes, occur in the winter. Around here, they laid the blacktop already, so this crew was cleaning out the cracks between the new blacktop and the cement on the edges of the road that make up the curbs. If they did not do this, water would get underneath the blacktop. In the dead of winter, when the temperatures drop, this water would freeze, and being the only compound known to science that expands on freezing, it pushes up on the blacktop causing the cracks and potholes.
I’ve already purchased candy for Halloween. I don’t know how many guests to expect, so I have eight packs of six full time candy bars, and I will probably buy more. All of it is chocolate based, so I would like at least a couple of packs of candy that does not have chocolate for variety, and maybe two packs of both chocolate and peanut free candy. With eight packs, I have candy for forty-eight. With two more packs, that’ll bring it up to sixty. And I only buy candy that I like, since I’ll end up eating the leftovers.
This year, I think I’ll try an old chemists’ trick to create smog to come out of the door when I open it (I hope). That should be fun, but I’m not sure what I should dress as. I’ve often thought of creating a vampire cape that will create fog as well. I think It would be fun to answer the door in a “smoking cape”.
With a carport and outdoor shed I’m almost ready for the fall. I have a plan for insulation under the second expansion of my house that has none in the flooring, and I bought a snowblower although it’s not arrived yet. Once I complete the insulation and get the snowblower ready, I’ll be prepared to hibernate through the winter, peaking out for appearances as rare as my dates. Okay, maybe not that rare, but it won’t be often. And for my readers, I hope you have a terrific series of holidays and spend great times with your family and loved ones. Happy Rocktober!