October Thoughts

“Friendly scarecrows greet the way
On the cool October day,
Surprising visitors with their painted smile,
Welcome, autumn. Please stay a while.”
By Lillian Garant

It certainly feels like autumn. We have been trying to keep from turning on the furnace till Nov. 1. I am pretty sure that we will give in to the cold temps predicted for this week and turn on the furnace. Last Saturday one gust of wind was so fierce that it knocked over every empty trash barrel on our street after the trash collectors had come. It even knocked over one of the big recycling bins. We lost one of our windspins from the whiskey barrel in the back yard. It ended up in our grapevine. Hubby took all the lawn chairs and put them in the garage on Friday, just before the gusty windstorm.

Daughter Sue went to visit her cousin Terri in Attleboro last weekend. Other than being windy, it was a beautiful weekend. While the Patriots and the Ravens were playing “just down the street”, in Foxborough, there were not too many cars on the road during the game. The girls first went to St. Mary’s Cistercian Abbey (the Trappist Abbey) in Wrentham. We have been going there almost every fall since our kids were small. It was there that we acquired our calico cat “Abbey,” who lived with us for 16 years. What else could we name her but “Abbey”! The girls first went into the chapel, which is a positively beautiful, serene place. Sue was amazed at the amount of building going on at the Abbey. She even took photos so we could see the new building, which will be where the wonderful Trappist Candy will be made. The building looked great against the bright red leaves of the trees in the background. Sue even bought a box of the tasty Trappist Butternut Munch Candy. The nuns at the abbey have installed a huge windspin, similar to the one at the IBEW Hall here in Dorchester. Then the girls went just down the road to the Big Apple Farm and bought a huge bag of McIntosh apples. (I couldn’t lift the bag.) The farm was a little busier than the abbey with people buying cider, apples, donuts, even pies. There were hayrides being given that afternoon. Going to Wrentham was a lovely excursion on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon for the girls.

Since it is getting so close to Halloween, I finally gave in and bought Halloween candy. I shied away from chocolate because I would surely keep tasting those candy bars during the next two weeks. I opted for Tootsie Pops so I wouldn’t be tempted. People spend about $2 billion dollars for Halloween candy. It is 25 percent of all the candy sold in the U.S. every year. I thought I would check our Ch. 533 on Boston’s Comcast. That channel plays seasonal music. I wondered what the channel would play for Halloween. The music was fun: Ross Bagdararian’s “Witch Doctor,” “The Munsters’ Theme,” and the “Theme from the Addams Family” TV show. The channel also played some musical excerpts from “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” That movie was filmed in a 19th century French chateau, used by Charles de Gaulle during World War II. Hubby taped that movie for daughter Sue last Saturday evening.
I loved the trivia shown on the Seasonal Music Channel. It mentioned that the tradition of the Jack-O-Lantern came to the U.S. from the Irish; it was based on a man named ”Stingy Jack.” The Irish originally carved Jack-O-Lanterns from turnips. Turnips were not so plentiful in the U.S. so they began using pumpkins. (The channel also stated that the largest pumpkin in 2008 weighed in at 1,725 pounds. I believe that record was broken this year.) The channel also said that the myth of the Headless Horseman was supposedly based on the ghost of a soldier killed by a cannon ball during the Revolutionary War. In the move The Exorcist, Ellen Burstyn agreed to appear in the movie providing that she did not have to say, “I believe in the devil.” The channel also stated that Bela Lugosi was buried in a Dracula cape. Turn on the Seasonal Music Channel. You will be interested in the trivia.

While I was at the Bostonian for rehab, I had a chance to walk down the hall to see my neighbor Claire and chatted with her for a few minutes. I also had a terrific visit with my longtime friend, Frank Doyle. (He was visiting a relative on another floor.) He chatted with daughter Sue and me for quite a while. It was so good to see him. I often saw Jeannie (Albanese) Bolduc as she took her Mom Ellie out into the hall in her wheelchair. Ellie always had her baby (a doll) in her arms. I learned so much about Ellie over the past 40 years. She loved to bowl and was a member of St. Ann’s/St. Brendan’s Bowling League for an amazing 56 years. Ellie was the late manager of the Long Island Hospital’s Linen Room and a nurse’s aide for the City of Boston. Jeannie especially tried to make her Mom eat. When Ellie was sleeping, Jeannie would often come into my room and chat. I thoroughly enjoyed Jeannie’s visits, especially later in the evenings. I was sorry to read that Ellie passed away on July 28. I send my sympathy to her children, Eleanor “Honey” De Young and Jeanne Bolduc, and to her siblings: Helen, Patricia, Anna, Joe, Edward, Genevieve, and Thomas. She was a very nice lady.

I also must praise my nurse Cindy, who took care of me most of the days that I was at Bostonian. It was Cindy who took out all 34 staples from my knee incision. (I kept my hand over my mouth so I wouldn’t make a noise if the staples hurt coming out.) Cindy told me that she soon would be getting married. I also must praise my therapist Bayla, the mother of eight children. Many of her exercises were to check my balance with my new knee. I am not very athletic so it took lots of concentration to return the balloons to Bayla without falling to the side. I was much better over the month as she worked with me
One of the days that I was in the Bostonian, was Father’s Day. If I heard the TV correctly, the celebration of Father’s Day was exactly 100 years old. Son Paul called me to see where his Dad was. Hubby was sitting in my room watching TV. Paul said he would be right along. He gave his Dad the book Anthony and Cleopatra by Colleen McCullough. Hubby loves books on Greek, Roman, and Irish history so he was very happy. Paul stayed almost three hours with us.

Speaking of TV, I watched some morning shows that I never get to see. I really liked “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” I also watched Martha Stewart most mornings. She had some terrific gardening tips. I started to watch “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?” and realized how dumb I really was. It was amazing to see how much the student participants knew. I also watched “The World’s Dirtiest Jobs” with Mike Rowe. I couldn’t get over how dangerous some of the jobs were. One Sunday morning, Mike helped to make the big fireworks that are used in outdoor displays. That was scary. I haven’t had a chance to watch this program since I’ve been home. I do see Mike, however, a great deal because he does the Ford trucks’ commercials.

I also was able to see the memorial service for Alice Horton, the matriarch of the Horton Clan on the soap opera, “Days of Our Lives.” “Days” began on Nov. 8, 1965, as a half-hour program. It expanded to one hour 10 years later. I probably watched it for 20 of those 45 years. I first saw it in the early 70’s when Bill Hayes began on the soap as Doug Williams. I loved Bill Hayes on “Your Show of Shows” so I followed him to “Days.” I grew to love Frances Reid as Alice and her “husband” Dr. Tom Horton, played by Macdonald Carey. Frances died, in real life, on Feb. 3 of this year, at age 95. (She suffered from dementia.) It took the writers four months to write “Alice’s” Memorial Service, which was shown on the show in June.

Many of you probably remember Art and Millie Roos because they lived in the Pope’s Hill area for years. I saw, in the Patriot Ledger, that their son Karl is an independent candidate for the 2nd Norfolk District seat, currently held by Rep. Stephen Tobin. Karl lives in Quincy with his wife and three kids. He runs Wollaston T-ball, and is involved in the Cub Scouts and the PTC groups in Quincy. He also coaches sports in Quincy.

While we were at the Indian Head Resort in New Hampshire a few weeks ago, we woke up each morning and swore that the trees outside our porch had become more colorful overnight. Even Mary, our fellow traveler in the next room, thought the same thing. This saying by Elizabeth Lawrence seems very appropriate for this time of year: “Everyone must take the time to watch the leaves turn.”