It is September the 1st and the fall rains have begun. Today begins my favorite time of the year and the fastest moving time of the year! I am always so happy to see September arrive because it portends the arrival of fall which is my favorites season. MJ and I purchased groceries this afternoon and two bags of Starbucks Pumpkin Spice came home with us. I am a creature of the cooler climate and I even enjoy cold weather…as long as it does not get to cold! The all encompassing feel and ambiance of the season is a energy pill for me and my idea of the perfect life!
For over 30 years the Muscular Dystrophy Telethon hosted by the popular comedian and movie star, Jerry Lewis, was a mainstay in the Brooks home and it said to me that fall had begun, as it was shown on the Sunday before Labor Day and then conclude in the evening of Labor Day. One year, many years ago, MJ and I were staying at a Howard Johnson’s Hotel in Des Moines, Iowa and Aaron was little more than a baby and Jonathon had not arrived yet. I vividly recall the Telethon on television and the famous fried scallops in the restaurant that Howard Johnson was famous for! Many years later MJ and I were in El Paso, Texas and the hotel that we were staying at was having a live television event, as was customary for the Lewis Telethon…and I was fascinated that we were there to observe it. The Jerry Lewis Telethon was a comforting happening at the beginning of September that I took solace in when I was in unfamiliar territory.
School always seemed a little foreign to me. Especially the beginning which occurred the latter part of August. It was so hot and there were no air conditioners. Our grade school teachers would open the large windows that pulled forward into the classroom and sometimes we were fortunate enough to have a window fan…and it felt like a furnace blowing on our little necks! When the Halloween decorations went up on the bulletin boards…I knew that happier times were coming! About mid-september in the early 1960’s it had already begun to get cooler. We had a milk break in the morning…and the milk was ice cold and you held your glass up to a spout and maneuvered a large and substantial handle to dispense the wonderful product…either white or chocolate. You could even have a second glass if you could hold it. So, Halloween arrived and the costumes that we purchased at the Ben Franklin Dime Store. My buddy, Jackie Brooks, could do a perfect imitation of the robot on the Lost in Space television show. When we trick or treated we were on the prowl for popcorn balls and large candy bars.
Fall is the time for special events. The time for holiday parties and Ichabod Crane and the headless horseman…and bobbing for apples! There has been a tradition of stringing festive lights on your home for Halloween for some time now. I loved monster movies when I was a youngster. Bella Lugosi’s Dracula and Boris Karloff’s Frankenstein were staples for my fall revelry! The Wolfman and the Mummy were of significant interest as well…but not with the same weight of my two horror stars.
My birthday is October 24th. I love my birthday! Each year I am grateful to have achieved another milestone in the life of Bradley Jay Brooks. I had two weeks of birthday celebrations for many years…but as I have now become an old man…a week seems sufficient! Cunetto’s House of Pasta is my favorite restaurant! We have dined at Cunetto’s for well over 20 years. We spend most of my birthday dinners at Cunetto’s on the Hill in St. Louis. I relish tradition! Continuity makes me happy. In my mind my life is one long progression of challenges and subsequent happiness. I dwell on the happiness! This year I will be 63 and my father died at 60. I am pleased that I have made it a little longer that dear old dad.
Autumn signifies good things to me! We began attending First Presbyterian Church in Carbondale, Illinois in the autumn. We were invited by two of MJ’s colleagues, Lee Holland a Carol Phemister…and I fell in love with the little church and its wonderful worship service…the first time that we attended! Everything about the people and the service and the magnificent building…suited me to the tee! MJ was shocked! She was fearful that I would not like a very traditional denomination. On the contrary…it was exactly what I was looking for! There was an order and a governance that I found tremendously appealing. The polity of First Presbyterian U.S.A. is unparalleled. We not only were made welcome the first Sunday service that we attended but a wonderful elderly couple drove to our little house in Elkville, Illinois and brought us homemade Cookies! They were Evelyn and Harold Engilking…and when someone drive 20 miles to bring you cookies…you will remember them too!
A wonderful and enlightening time is now at our doorstep. We have been locked in and masked and social distanced…but not forever! Life is marching on and we are in the midst of it…with all of its glory and all of its challenges and all of its pain! We must hold tightly on to our lodestones and our life markers as we do not want to lose our way in the dark of doubt and confusion. I often told a good friend of mine that I do not change…if I am your friend in the good times…I am your fried in the bad times! I have not allegiance to situational friendships or service to others. Glorious fall is coming and we should rejoice that we are still a vial part of the human story…