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Friday, September 10, 2010

Ah, The Smell of Death is in the Air

Quite suddenly, we seem to have plopped into Fall. It's delightfully cool and breezy. The air is fresh and even though humid, not sticky, at last. The A/C is off- hopefully for good- and my constant benadryl habit gone with it. Oh, and my landlord has offered to replace the 1974 GM A/C.... IF I sign a new lease (the letter actually said, "It would make a big difference next summer!")- really? Ya mean my electric bill to cool two rooms would be less than 200 a month? I'll sign the new lease, but chances are I won't be here next summer. The affordable housing folks have told me I'm on the list for disabled housing, so it could be any time now. And I can't be held to a lease where the facility endangers me, which this place does. But a new A/C for the next poor sucker who has to live here will be good - and they will likely pay 700 a month in rent for the luxury.

I love the Fall. Even now, I get that Back To School feeling when the sunlight changes and the first leaves gather in the gutter. The new school term was hugely exciting to me. Though clothes shopping was always a nightmare, new notebooks and Bics, a new pencil case, a new bookstrap were all delights. If I'd had my druthers, I'd lose a whole day wandering through stationery and office supply aisles in Woolworth's or McCrory's. Then the first day of school came (would've been this past Tuesday) - lining up in the schoolyard, catching up with all the kids you hadn't seen all summer, meeting the new teacher, going to the classroom you'd spend the whole year in for the first time, examining your desk for clues of who'd sat there before you... all of it was dear to me. Of course, by Halloween it was all old hat and I'd start playing hooky, but that's another story.

Fall has my favorite holidays that all lead up to the biggest deal of the year, Christmas. The anticipation, planning what to be for Halloween to begin with, was overwhelming to me. I obsessed on my Halloween get-up. Only twice in my Trick or Treating career did I have a store-bought outfit and there was a lot of competition amongst the dozens of kids around my block. The kids with older sisters who had a makeup edge, the kids from small families or whose parents had money were in another class literally and figuratively. Halloween costumes marked you for what you were in life and you could rise above if you were creative. It was serious business.

Thanksgiving, before I was part of the kitchen duty, was pure joy. I got to be with my brothers, even if they regarded me as a pest, and we watched the "Macy*s Day Parade". Then came the traditional movies..."Mighty Joe Young", "March of the Wooden Soldiers" and "Miracle on 34th Street". And then dinner, the one big blowout meal of the year. Even Christmas dinner didn't come close. And after dinner cleanup, peace and quiet while we all watched some holiday special or read books and I began planning my letter to Santa Claus.

So, while the Fall brings the end of life to so much around us; as greenery slowly dies off and the earth prepares for hibernation in our corner of the world; as the smells of decaying vegetation and the first whiffs of wood burning curl in our noses, I rejoice. Good memories come back and good celebrations lie ahead.

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