Spring’s bold greens slowly dim over the summer, succumbing to the heat and misery of summer days until by August, everything feels faded, and we’re all sick of it. Summer’s long sunny days are gone, vacations are over, the pool is closed. September arrives as a transition, and the slate is wiped clean by changes in routine and schedule. By October, we’re used to those changes and our world returns to color as rust, red and orange pop out everywhere there’s a tree. Leaves are making one last glorious statement before succumbing to their fate, letting loose of their branches and joining the carpet on the ground.
October also is our gliding month: we’re reveling in the feel of cool breezes while we start to think about holidays. Yet the stress of the holiday season and true cold are a month or so away. October is an early Christmas present, and in 2016 my present contains:
October 12. Sixty years ago on that date “Honey” Palarino Parente gave birth to a long crying bundle of manhood she and her husband Tom named Raymond. The baby grew up to become a stubborn young teen with a heart of gold and a streak of restlessness that could have landed him on the wrong side of the law. He joined the Navy instead, straightened himself out and put his brilliant sharp mind to work. He ran into me at a party 25 years ago, moved in with me after four months and was my husband by the next year.
Saturdays with readers at arts & crafts fairs. Mom and I have a busy month with four days of book events. Those fairs can be hard on both of us: I spend all Friday afternoon lugging books in and out of the house, running off a supply of promotional materials, checking off items on my list to make sure we don’t forget anything. The events themselves are really hard on a 88-year-old woman who depends on a walker to get her in and out of the venue and who has to sit in a stiff chair all day long and try to keep a smile plastered on her face. Yet neither of us would trade a single ache in our bones to be released from these “duties,” because the high that comes from talking to people about what we do is worth it.
Time with old friends. I’ve reconnected with a few people from my past this year and have several events coming this month as a result. One weekend, I’m headed to Pennsylvania with my husband, my brother Mark and his husband George to meet up with a couple I had not seen for 20-plus years until they showed up at my father’s funeral. They saw the announcement on facebook and knew what losing Dad meant to us. I doubt we can keep up with the beer drinking we did back in the early days when Mark and I originally sought out this couple. But I have a feeling the laughter and shared love of the bizarre tendencies of human beings is still there. I also have a second lunch planned with a former coworker who moved away for many years then “found” me in the media dust of our book launch last month. I was so glad to see her at our first lunch I just walked up and hugged her and thanked my lucky stars some precious things in life stay the same.
And then there’s Halloween. It’s the only holiday besides Christmas for which I decorate, beginning with setting out a witch figure my mother painted. I don’t know why I love her scary stare and wrinkled hands so much, but it’s one of my favorite hand-made gifts from the talented woman who is my co author. The only Halloween trimming I love as much are the two skeletons my husband and I found on one of our shopping excursions. Despite the fact these figures have no flesh at all, they sit comfortably together, the “male” with his arm around the “female.” I don’t even know why you know they are a couple and that they’re happy—they are, after all, just BONES.
I guess it has to do with the rest of why this month is so golden to me: I’ve filled in the outline of what’s there with my own idea of what makes life special.
–Genilee Swope Parente