October is the cruelest month. April is irresolute and fickle, but it gives way to its better sibling, May. October shows you what you want then strips it away - a lovely sentence written on the board, slowly erased, left to right.
The hammer came down today: snow, and rumors of snow. From shorts to parkas in 24 hours. The sun was out this morning, but the only reason we saw its face was because it was saying goodbye. Clouds rolled in and the wind came up and the wind ran the leaves around like a crazy old lady chasing chicks.
Not a big deal no sir we can take it not like it’s here forever WHAT? SNOW? In Moorhead. Far away. The enemy has not yet gotten near. Our forces will turn them back. (Cue the Downfall parody.) But it was enough snow to knock out power. Let me be clear: this is not October. This is not October by any definition. This is a kick in the knee and a knee in the teeth.
I expect 70s will return in 10 days. It’s like that up here. Keeps your attention, it does.
But. There’s the biweekly recycling test, when I head outside to put the stuff in the bins so it can be carted away, sorted, crushed, and turned into Post-Consumer Materials. For as long as I can remember the trip has been a pleasant coda to the workweek - which for me begins on Sunday; Friday is actually my busiest day, but I’m leaning so hard into the weekend by then it feels as if the race has been run and won - and sometimes I just spread my arms, Zorba-like, to acknowledge the glories of the evening breeze, the remnant warmth, the lovely sight of Jasperwood in the streetlights.
Tonight there will be no communion. Tonight it’s windy. Tonight the collar’s up. We meet again, my friend. We meet again.
Dog likes it. The wind brings smells from afar. For a dog a strong wind is broadband.
He was without purchase today; my wife took up the dining room rug to clean it, and he can’t get up very well on hardwood. She took out the rug because she has two weeks off between jobs, and unlike many people who would sit on the sofa and watch TV and read and relax, she is getting things done; I expect to come home tomorrow and find her on the roof nailing down shingles. The rug has suffered over the years, mostly from traffic but partly from dog barf, and she took it out and hosed it down. Also planted bulbs. And did mum-work, mums being the last flower of the year you can put out, because when they’re struck dead they still look okay. She also called a guy about sanding the floors AND called in someone from Sherwin-Williams to give us advice about painting the kitchen.
My advice is simple: don’t. Or, if you must, then go with white. I am a fan of white. I am a white enthusiast. But she wants color. As you might surmise, there’s no compromise there, so I can either a) say “whatever you want, dear,” or b) work within the process and get something we both like. This is her curse: a husband who has opinions about how things should look. Dare I say: strong opinions. Yes, she’s cursed. Worse: I have reasonably good taste.
But perhaps I am reacting to my upbringing. I was scarred by the rust-and-brown period; it left deep wounds. I’ve come to terms with avocado and harvest gold; we can get along at family meetings. But rust and brown and gold close in on me like an oven mitt on the throat. I can’t stand anything that darkens a room and uses those hues; it’s like being shoved face down into a vat of molten fluid made from boiled-down “Match Game” clothing.
I grew up in a turquoise house with a sky-blue Merc in the garage and turquoise boomerang-patterned Formica in the kitchen - and then it all went brown. Brown siding. Brown counters. Brown Ford LTD. This was right around the time I started paying attention to the world, and discovered to my dismay that it was 1975.
All that said: I welcome the fall. As long as the inevitable exhalation is slow, and there are days when you can feel the sun, not just see it.
Also, I like the color we compromised on. And by “compromise” I mean “a choice of two nearly indistinguishable hues, one of which I liked, the other of which my wife liked, and I caved, because I’m not stupid.” I also surprised her by choosing a more vivid color for the sunroom. Hah! Let that stand in contrast to my supposed obstructionism.
The Color Consultant noted that the color we’d chosen was “historical,” meaning it had been verified by teams of Color Experts who go to old houses and research the Authentic Hues. I noted that I was something of a mid-century enthusiast, and took pleasure in finding ads in 50s magazines that showed the paints available to homeowners. After you scanned the picture, you had to color-correct it based on the shade of white of the paper stock - a difficult thing, a judgment call in the end, but when you were done you had the colors they enjoyed in 1955. And you know what? They’re the same damned colors we have now.
Except now we have three shades in between. Just to make things difficult. Just to let couples agonize for half an hour between Lustrous Marble and Cargo Pants. Really, that’s the shade we chose. Cargo Pants.
I’m just going to tell everyone it’s Bleached Moss.
Friday Face: okay, this one's really tough.
Kidding. That's Boris, in the early 30s moisturizer ad, "The Mummy." This being October, I'm working my way through another Universal series.
You know what’s missing in “The Mummy”? The Mummy. Oh, it Mummys up at the beginning:
Yes, one of Arl's best. I love the typefaces: that S takes some serious real estate.
But as I said, it's mostly Mummy-free. Karloff comes back from the dead, woos the reincarnation of his wife, who mostly looks really confused about things. Alarmed and confused.
That’s Zita Johann. If you want a clue about how things change: her bio lists her birthplace as “Austria-Hungary.” Which was a thing in 1904. She died in 1993. At the time of the making of the Mummy, she was married to John Houseman, aka Professor Kingsfield; it lasted four years. She did four more movies after “Mummy,” stopping for a rest in 1934. Her next film would be in 1986 - a 52-year gap. The movie was “Raiders of the Living Dead,” a no-budget zombie film.
She played a librarian. Oh, the 80s. How I love the 80s.
From what I understand about the movie, most of the budget went into the credits.
Ah! It’s all online.
She’s 57 minutes in. Half a century later, she sounds pretty good. Why no one ever brought out a line of Tannis Leaf moisturizer, I don't know. Worked for Zita.