October was my grandpa’s favorite month because a fall frost would kill pesky insects and bugs around his home.
Mosquitoes, flies, bees, wasps, crickets, grasshoppers, stink bugs.
Horseflies the size of hummingbirds.
Caterpillars galore, in no hurry to cross the sidewalk.
Come October’s frost, they’d disappear, and Gramps was a happier man.
I spent a lot of my childhood time at my grandparent’s home in Alorton. Gramps blamed the nearby peach orchard and horse stables for his yard bugs. I’d spend many summer mornings killing bugs and insects in his yard and garage.
Bug Patrol, I called it.
Killing bugs was something to do for a boy who had big-time ants in his pants.
“October can’t come fast enough,” Gramps would say all summer. He carried a plastic flyswatter from room to room in his home.
Gramps’ fondness for October is one of many reasons it is my favorite month:
▪ I like October more than July, my birthday month, and December, the holiday season. I receive zero gifts this month. October weather is a gift in itself. This year, though, October seems to be confused whether it’s a fall or summer month. I want pumpkin weather.
▪ I like October more than March, even though I’m Irish, and I like it more than April, even though April officially restarts baseball season and Daylight Saving Time. I miss Cardinals baseball already. It gives me something to follow every day. The true pastime.
▪ I like October more than January because, well, there’s really nothing good about January. Cold. Post holidays. Resolutions. Diets.
▪ I like October more than November, the gratitude month. Next month, I will be thankful for many blessings. Health. Family. Oberweis ice cream. One “thank you” will cover that it’s not January yet.
▪ I like October because there is still a little evening daylight. October is the final month of Daylight Saving Time. Shorter evenings but there’s still a little time for a walk or bike ride. Soon it will be dark at 5 p.m. Remember just a few months ago when it was light outdoors at 8:30?
▪ I like October because it’s hockey season. Go Blues! One of these years, there will be a championship parade down Clark Street.
▪ I like October because it’s World Series month. I remember a few special Octobers when we had the Cardinals, Blues and Rams all playing at same time.
▪ I like October because there are no big holidays. October’s lone holidays are Columbus Day and Halloween. Ho hum. No holiday sales yet. No store stalking. No dreams of a white Christmas. No 24/7 holiday music. Yet.
▪ I like October because of college football.
By the time October rolls around, things are getting serious. I miss the NFL in St. Louis but college football is a lot of fun to follow. It will be more fun when Illinois becomes a factor again.
▪ I like October because all music sounds better in October. James Taylor. John Hiatt. Van Morrison. Springsteen. John Prine. Jimmy LaFave. The Avett Brothers. They all sound peaceful and perfect in October.
▪ I like October because I can put away my summer clothes and my normal weekend attire becomes a baggy sweatshirt, shorts and a ballcap. In October, my wardrobe collectively sighs. I have a thing for sweaters. They keep you warm and hide your gut.
▪ I like October because it’s my wife, Colleen’s, birthday month. I enjoy celebrating others’ birthdays more than my own.
▪ I like October because it brings back memories of my grandpa and his home in Alorton, killing bugs and swatting horseflies the size of hummingbirds.