Posted tagged ‘columbus day’

“Americans will put up with anything provided it doesn’t block traffic.”

September 2, 2016

Yesterday was muggy and the afternoon was rainy, but I was glad for the rain since the cape has joined most of the rest of the state in an official drought. It rained enough all day to water my deck plants and for Gracie to get wet every time she went outside and for her to leave muddy paw prints every time she came inside.

Today is a delight. The humidity is gone, and there is a cool breeze strong enough to wave the branches. It is so pleasant to have windows open.

The cape will be inundated with tourists this weekend. It is the last big weekend of the summer and the weather will be lovely: in the mid-70’s during the days and the mid-60’s at night. Rain is forecast for Monday which seems like a metaphor for summer’s end. Cars will be bumper to bumper on the highway, all of them trying to get over the bridge and off the cape. In some years the wait was so long people played frisbee on the wide, grassy median.

When I was a kid, Labor Day really meant the end of summer traffic. Motels and restaurants closed. One-way roads went back to two-way. Main streets were no longer filled with cars. Parking lots were empty. Downtown Hyannis was like a ghost town, but things have changed. The secret is out: fall on the cape is the most wonderful time of year.  The tourist season now extends to Columbus Day weekend. Buses have joined the cars on main roads like Route 28. They rumble from site to site. They stop at the outlets and at the Christmas Tree Shop. A bus in any parking lot is a tell-tale sign to keep going. It is like a giant neon light which screams Tourists! Beware!

Fern seems a bit better, but I don’t think she is eating anything but treats. I keep offering different foods hoping she’ll be enticed. Maybe I’ll have to buy a can of human tuna. She does like the juice.

I’m thinking a deck day today. There might not be all that many left.


“When asked by an anthropologist what the Indians called America before the white man came, an Indian said simply, ‘Ours.'”

October 12, 2015

Today is the best sort of a fall day. The sun is shining, it’s warm and the clear blue sky goes on forever. The leaves have started changing, and with the help of the wind, some have already fallen. My front lawn has touches of red lying on the grass blown from the trees along the driveway. Clumps of pine needles with chewed ends are strewn on the grass and the driveway. The spawns chew the clumps off the branches, drink the sap then toss the leftovers. I don’t ever remember seeing as many clumps.

Columbus Day meant the day off from school, but it was always the 12th, never a convenient Monday. Today is just happenstance. Schools, banks, town and federal offices including the post office are all closed.

I don’t know how to celebrate Columbus Day. All the other holidays are easy, each has a token, a symbol. Some even have traditional foods. I suppose we could eat Italian food in honor of Columbus having been a citizen of Genoa or considering he never really made it to the New World, we could eat Caribbean food, the closest he got. We could wear one of those silly hats he’s always pictured wearing. As for decorations, miniature ships with crosses on their sails could be on the Columbus Day table. That’s all I’ve got.

Now we come to the controversy as to whether or not we should celebrate Columbus, by most accounts a slaver guilty of genocide. He wiped out entire populations of indigenous people. He didn’t even find America, his one claim to fame. Protests against Chris are held every Columbus Day. In some places the day has been renamed Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Only 23 states still have the day as a holiday from work.

I used to like a day off in October. In truth, I didn’t care the reason.

I agree that Chris doesn’t deserve a whole day in his name. He really didn’t do anything worth recognition. Quite the opposite is true so I think it’s time to stop honoring him. We need to rethink the day.

“We are perishing for want of wonder, not for want of wonders.”

October 13, 2014

No jumping out of bed into the shower this morning, not with the house at 61˚. I was cozy under the comforter, but I should have realized how cold the house was as Gracie was leaning on me on one side and Fern was leaning on the other. The house is now 68˚ so I have turned off the heat. It is supposed to get warmer starting today.

Columbus Day was really yesterday. I used to get it off from school every year unless it happened to be a Sunday. Back then holidays stayed put.

Kids grow up believing in all sorts of stuff. I believed in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. I knew there were ghosts and witches and men with hooks instead of hands. Tinker Bell was real because she used to fly over the field below my house with her light blinking as she flew. Most times she was with a bunch of friends. I was easily amazed by the world around me. I loved watching the yellow and black caterpillars walk on a tree limb, and I knew they’d be butterflies some day. I watched the progression of tadpoles into frogs at the swamp. I got to go behind the scenes at the zoo because my brother and I befriended a zoo keeper. I fed some of the animals, even the elephant. I never tired of watching the cows at the dairy farm or the horses running in the field near my house. Life was filled to the brim with adventure and wonder.

When I got older, a teenager, my friends and I had the best fun. We celebrated Mardi Gras, sneaked food upstairs into the library, left school early with permission from the addled nun who taught the class, bowled, played miniature golf, went to the drive-in and had hay rides in the fall. We even went square dancing once. They were all adults but they decided to let us stay. It was so much fun to learn to do-si-do. The world wasn’t as filled with wonder, but I was having too much fun to notice.

College was so many things. It was great friends, a lot of partying and classes here and there. I loved college, but it too lacked that sense of wonder I had as a kid. I’d figured the older we all got, the fewer wonders there were to see. I can’t believe how wrong I was.

I know it was Africa where I found my lost sense of wonder. The people, the colors, the languages, the markets, the night sky were all amazing. Everywhere I went I saw something new, something remarkable. I learned again to look at the world with wide eyes.

I am still filled with that sense of wonder. It’s like a huge gift which never stops giving. I notice everything and stop sometimes along the road to get an eyeful, to fill my soul with all the beauty I can see. Sometimes it is as simple as a marsh with tall reeds or geese flying in formation. It is so wonderful having that kid back!

Christopher Columbus: Maxine Sullivan

October 10, 2011

This is from the album Folk & Blues: The Roots of Americana.

“You can’t make anything idiot proof because idiots are so ingenious.”

October 7, 2011

Last night was one of those I can’t get to sleep nights. After the Tigers-Yankee thriller, I watched a few DVR’ed programs, played on my computer and still couldn’t get to sleep. Finally, about 3:00, we all crawled into bed. This morning Gracie woke me up by ringing her bells to go out around 9:30. The house was so cold I ran back upstairs and under the covers but not before I turned on the heat. Yup, I have heat.

I am an idiot. When the hall was painted last week, the painter turned off the emergency switch, and it only cost me $95.00 to turn it on again. While the service guy was here, I figured he might as well change the filter in the furnace, and when he did, he turned off some switch which caused the heat to stay off. I called the answering service and some woman questioned me about the switches. Not a tech person mind you, but an answering person. I finally got her to take the message and stop the inquisition. The service guy called and profusely apologized. He knew just what he had done and was on his way back here. I now have heat, just in time for the 70+° weather due this weekend.

My sister was born on Columbus Day, the real one, not the fake one enacted to give us all a long weekend. She loved having that day as her birthday because she was guaranteed a day off from school. I swear when she was young she thought we all had the day off in her honor.

As a kid, my favorite time of the year, besides summer and no school, was from October through the beginning of January. During those months we had Halloween, legal holidays off from school and holy days off like November 1st, All Saint’s Day, and December 8th, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception though we had to pay for those days off by attending mass. I guess it was a fair trade-off. We also had the school vacations of Thanksgiving and Christmas.

School was never painful those months. We knew a day off was never far away.

Christopher Columbus: The Ink Spots

October 11, 2010

This is from Greatest Hits.

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