here comes November, but it might as well be spring

Tuesday was cool and sunny although from the terrace we could see threatening black and grey clouds doing what they do, that is, threaten - and overnight I heard thunder, heavy emphatic rain (no sprinkles) and hail. Wednesday it went from wet to dreary to misty to foggy and back to wet without dropping the dreary, and so I am reminded that November is coming. Thursday's rain started with noisy drumming after midnight, followed by hail, followed by more rain, drizzle and clouds.
I finally stepped out on the terrace, sullenly wondering whether if I had stuck to my 7th grade decision to stop getting haircuts, I would have had hair like Rapunzel's by now.
I went to school in Olden Times, variously also known as The Days of Yore or The Dark Ages. Just like the overworked serfs, we had to get up and walk over to the television to change the channel. In school, the class system was feudal: we had poor peasants - girls whose mothers didn't allow them to wear ballerinas to school because they gave the feet no support, boys whose social life was limited by the ownership of only one dinner jacket, teachers who parked their cars in nearby church parking lots and walked the rest of the way to school so they wouldn't be ashamed as they chugged past the students' parking lot. We had freaks, lepers, madmen, saints and outcasts, too, but although there were classes we did not have class solidarity. One learns early that junior high is practice for high school and high school is a brutal combat sport, you play hurt and no prisoners are taken. Rugby is for wimps. Endurance is finishing 10th grade.
Teachers who were afraid of the rose-lipped maids and lightfoot lads assigned Poems rather than ask for original products that had to be graded subjectively and therefore might lead to disagreement. In case you didn't know, a Poem is a collection of words that must be memorized in their exact order so that the words can be recited back on command lest another Poem be assigned.
I was an exceptionally good student in English, but spoke up too often because I had trouble connecting words with consequences. One morning it was announced that the school auditorium was going to be named, with great ceremony, after a distinguished graduate. After lunch in the school cafeteria, I suggested naming the cafeteria Dotheboys Hall. The English teacher was within earshot. In consequence I learned this Poem about November.
No sun--no moon!
No morn--no noon!
No dawn--no dusk--no proper time of day--
No sky--no earthly view--
No distance looking blue--

No road--no street--
No "t'other side the way"--
No end to any Row--
No indications where the Crescents go--

No top to any steeple--
No recognitions of familiar people--
No courtesies for showing 'em--
No knowing 'em!

No mail--no post--
No news from any foreign coast--
No park--no ring--no afternoon gentility--
No company--no nobility--

No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease,
No comfortable feel in any member--
No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees,
No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds,

Thomas Hood         
Adding to the bereft atmosphere that is this week's premature November, there are no more Hallowe'en decorations in the stores, apparently they were sold out by Labor Day. There are no more Thanksgiving decorations, either, except for the themed dishes. It appears that this isn't going to be a year when people decide that their Thanksgiving feast would be more festive if they invested in a set of dishes for 8 or 12, decorated with turkeys. There are plenty of such dishes marked down and lingering even though Thanksgiving is November 27th this year. A really grim sign: stores that were fully stocked with Christmas merchandise a week ago are already starting to mark it down.  I imagine we'll be looking at bunnies in February and back-to-school sales in April.


  1. I spent elementary school out in the hallway because I'd finish my work so quickly and then bother my classmates...

    We have ALL the Halloween decorations here and likely some marked down thanksgiving as it was just last week. I am, I believe, the one North American who doesn't complain when they see Christmas decorations for sale; it is a personality defect, I know, but one which I am finally coming out of the closet to embrace! Hey - we are coming your way the first week of March! Hope I don't miss you, off on another exotic jaunt!

    1. Woo HOO! Maybe we can hook up with Louise if she can spare a few minutes, I'm still awed by her courage and diligence.

      Don't get me wrong, I love Christmas decorations and I live in one of the best places in the world for them! I just wish that whoever stocks the stores would give Hallowe'en and Thanksgiving (American) a chance. I don't know how little kids manage waiting for Christmas when the period of anticipation is 12 weeks, not almost 4.

    2. Hi WFF, I have been meaning to send you a message this past month, but the time keeps getting away from me... since midterms started a few weeks ago, I have been literally buried under a mountain of work and I am usually up until 3 a.m. working on assignments. Thank goodness only two more evaluations to go this upcoming week, but still, I am reaching the endpoint of my stamina. Anyway, early March should be okay for me as it is before the midterm season of the spring term. It would be wonderful to see you and finally meet Wendy in person!

      Once those 2 evaluations are done this week, I will be heading back to Toronto on Friday (Hallowe'en) to see my kids and help them get ready for trick-or-treating around the neighbourhood. I am so looking forward to it.

      Many thanks again for your help in pointing me in the right direction in terms of areas to live in and the M86 crosstown bus!!! Hope all is well with you!

    3. Hi, Louise, the question is, will this town be big enough for the three of us? YESYESYESYES!

      Enjoy your Hallowe'en break, you've earned it!

    4. If we can make it there, we'll make it anywhere...

  2. I used to buy Christmas wrapping paper AFTER the holiday when it was marked down. The past couple of years it's completely gone. Oh well, time to start looking at new bathing suits for summer.

    1. Yes, I no longer make my day-after raid on Macy's Christmas wonderland. I've learned that the big markdowns happen on the 24th, and even for great bargains I won't give up that day. As opposed to the 26th, when I really need to be out of the house.

  3. The black and white TV; but there were only 3 channels.

    Your weather observation skills would qualify you as an honorary Mainer.

    Spider webs seem to be everywhere this preHalloween season-- even in banks.

    1. Ha, you reminded me of the great physical exertions required to get rid of static, sometimes even involving someone outside on a ladder, and a chain of people shouting "This way! No, the other way! No, back!"

  4. What a wonderful view from your terrace. I love the rain and cold and a chance to stay indoors without people badgering me to come out and look at the fireworks. As I have small kids, our house is ablaze with orange and black to be followed quickly by red and green. It's all quite shocking to the system.

    I adore your description of high school. And the November poem was divine punishment. We had to do exercise until we dropped: the Anglicans could be a sadistic bunch.


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