October Whine


In most of the country, October and November are the months when people talk about “Indian summer” — by which I suppose they mean warm, summery days in the fall. I’ve never experienced that, because I live in D/FW. We don’t have Indian summer; we just have plain old summer. It takes the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex a while to catch up with the idea of fall. Although the autumnal equinox occurs somewhere around September 21, that doesn’t mean that our fall actually starts that day. Oh my, no. We’re lucky if it gets in gear before mid-October. Meanwhile, we enjoy the tail end of the summer heat, and try to cram all the activities we can into those days that are actually bearable.

Although global warming and El Nino do tend to screw things up a bit, frost is a laughable concept until sometime around Thanksgiving or so; but blessedly, nighttime temperatures do start to fall below 70 again (sometimes, anyhow). It rains a lot, too. October is usually the month with the second highest quota of rain: about four inches, most years, but in October 1959 it rained almost six inches in a one day. That’s a fair amount. And speaking of fair, the Texas State Fair is in full swing for the entire month. It’s such a big deal that all the kids in the area’s public schools get a Fair Day off school, along with a free ticket. But more on that anon, when October finally gets here and I can take a few photos of the Fair for your education and elucidation, as the saying goes. I can’t wait!

Besides the gradual cooling trend, which we all enjoy, the truly dominant weather pattern in D/FW in October is Football, and I don’t mean that wussy soccer thing the Brits like so much. Every educational facility in the state is overwhelmed by storms of Football, no matter how highbrow and hoity-toity, from middle schools on up to the crème-de-la-crème universities. Rice University? Not a Football powerhouse, so it must not be important. The University of Texas? Who needs Nobel Prize winners when you’ve got Football?

October’s when Football really gets into gear, and everybody forgets that school is a place to learn as the high-pressure system sets in. I can’t say that it’s as bad here as it was in College Station — you might as well be hit by lightning if you aren’t a big A&M Football fan there — but we’ve got enough universities and high schools around here to keep everything heated up nicely. So much for the cool, cool breath of academic learning, which some of us look forward to all year. All that we non-fans can do is keep our heads down, hide under our umbrellas, and pray for one of those spectacular thunderstorms North Texas is famous for. It’s a lot quieter then.

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