This really is one of my favorite times of the year here in Northeast Texas.

The baking heat of the summer is just about all gone, with a satisfying large number of days already past and — more importantly — laying just ahead, that start out just this side of too cool, warm up to just about right and end up cool enough to ensure a really good night’s sleep. Aaaah, I love October.

Let’s go to one of my favorite books, shall we? “Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations” gives me this: “Oh, sun and skies and clouds of June, and flowers of June together, ye cannot rival for one hour, October’s bright, blue weather.” Also, “Listen! The wind is rising and the air is wild with leaves, We have had our summer evenings, now for October eves.”

I love that book. I have spent many hours with Bartlett, idly easing through the pages and finding little nuggets of thought and reflection from Shakespeare to the Bible to Stephen Hawkings to Mel Brooks. It is one of the best purchases I ever made.

A quick Google search yields even more nuggets of October-ish goodness.

“There was something sad and beautiful about it [October] — the ending and beginning of things.”

“Ah, September! You are the doorway to the season that awakens my soul... but I must confess that I love you only because you are a prelude to my beloved October.”

I agree. Then there’s this:

“In the entire circle of the year there are no days so delightful as those of a fine October.”

“October is ... the month of glory, of ripeness.”

“My favorite color is October.”

“Bittersweet October. The mellow, messy, leaf-kicking, perfect pause between the opposing miseries of summer and winter.”

There you go, another someone who agrees with me. And this one:

“Hail, old October, bright and chill ... at last the summer’s done.”

October is, in my memory, a time of woodsmoke and crunchy leaves and blankets pulled out of bins that reek of mothballs; it’s a time to pull sweaters and winter nightgowns and those comfy thick socks to the front of the drawers; a time to hang those jackets and scarves by the door and to gather up all those flimsy summer flip-flops and toss them in the back of the closet. October is starting to get excited about all the holidays ahead, the scary thrill of Halloween, the warm comfort of Thanksgiving, the bright joy of Christmas spent with family.

Only this year, the pandemic has put something of a quash on my expectations for the holidays. Here at the paper we are planning a bit of a Halloween/Valley Visions celebration, and I expect we will note Thanksgiving and Christmas with a potluck meal or such, but my family and I have already put our heads together and decided to cut way back on the family gatherings this year. I already haven’t seen any of my family in months, haven’t gotten any hugs or smooches from the little ones, but that has mostly been my choice and my family mostly agrees.

I do not want to get sick, so I will do without, willingly.

I love my family, I do, and I spend a lot of time on the phone with my sister, especially, but with my luck, I would not be one of the ones who hardly even knows they have the virus and I have a lot more Octobers left to savor.

Sally Boswell is a staff writer for The Paris News. She can be reached at 903-785-6962 or at sally.boswell@theparisnews.com.

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