And then I wrote…

by Dick Schilling, Editor Emeritus


... that it’s beginning to look as if we are going to have winter again this year. Trees have shed their leaves for the most part, and what remains are “bare ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang,” as Shakespeare wrote.


And Christmas ads are replacing political ads on television. We used to hope that advertisers would “at least wait until after Thanksgiving.” Now, we barely make it to Halloween.

Halloween has never been a favorite “holiday” in my thinking. Once when I was very young, perhaps six, my mother and a friend of hers took me and the friend’s son trick or treating. It was cold and rainy, and I did not enjoy it. The only other time I did that was as a sub-teen, and I remember wrinkled apples and popcorn balls as highlights, rather than candy. Then as a teen, I was invited to a Halloween party, part of which was a scavenger hunt. Two girls from the party had the misfortune of calling at a house where the old woman who lived there had a heart attack!

The concept of trick or treat later struck me as too much like the attitude of the federal government toward its citizens.

This year, early the morning of Nov. 1, after All Hallows Eve, I heard an owl in the neighborhood. It is not unusual to hear owls around the home place, but I had not heard one previously this fall, and thanks to a prostate problem, I have some opportunities to be awake at various times nights. Perhaps if I had gone outside, I could have seen bats as well.


I order some things from catalogs, and as a result, my name is sold from one publisher to another. I don’t mind, although the post office probably does. But strange coincidences sometimes result. For example, seed catalogs often came in my mother’s name, Mabel. But I usually wrote the check. So in subsequent years we might each get a calendar.

At least one outfit has a confused computer, because I received a mailing offering birthstone jewelry, urging me to buy a romantic diamond and birthstone heart shaped pendant for Mabel. That incestuous suggestion came even though she has been dead for a decade. The birthstones were correct for the month of my birth and hers, leaving me wondering how they got that information! But if that wasn’t enough, a couple weeks later the same firm made the same suggestion for “Richard and Dickie.” Perhaps implying a homosexual romance.

I would like to sue for defamation of character or willful infliction of sad memories, or something, but the firm would probably just say the computer made the error, and no person was involved.

So, in the spirit of Christmas, I will simply bemoan the dependence on computers, and take it all in stride.

Like election results.