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The Unsung Month - October

By Steve Delaney / October 14, 1998



Did you know that October has ides, just like the ides of March in the spring? It's the 15th. And yet the only ides you ever hear of is the one made famous by Shakespeare and that clutch of noble assassins who carved up Julius Caesar. "Beware the ides of March" has become a verbal symbol for good advice ignored. Should we also beware the ides of October? Probably not.

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Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev was thrown out of office on the ides of October, but that wasn't such a bad thing, except perhaps for the personal indignity. On the same day in another year New York's La Guardia airport opened. The jury's still out on whether that was an achievement. And on another ides of October, "I Love Lucy" first appeared on TV. Piddlin' stuff, compared with the ides of March. You see, there's a conspiracy against October. You want proof? OK. look at the words of the pop classic September Song.

The days dwindle down to a precious few...September, November, and these few precious days...

Hold it right there. Did you notice, the lyrics skip October entirely? What, the days of October aren't as precious as those of the flanking months? Or is it that songwriters have a thing against October?

It is, after all, a pleasant month. Hurricanes and thunderstorms diminish, the temperatures are temperate, the greenery has turned gaudy, your favorite footballers might still have a good season, and its not too cold to watch them play. And its harvest time, when a year's labor is drawn from land sown with the faith of patient families.

So why don't the songwriters love October as they do other months? In April, it rains a lot, it's mud season in Vermont, and my road pretends it's wet cement. And yet the songwriters love April. Listen:

April in Paris, April Love, April Showers...

See there? And there's June too.

June is bustin' out all over...

And so on for other months. May, July, September, even December. October is off the list because it has an ugly name. Say it slowly. OK-TOE-BERRR.

A month with so much going for it should have a prettier name. Then maybe the songwriters would get inspired. It's hard to think of anything cute and cloying that rhymes with October. But if we ever get that solved, there's always February. Now there's a challenge.

* Steve Delaney, former host of Monitor Radio 'Early Edition,' lives in Milton, Vt.