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October’s Special Times

As we approach the cusp of another new month (can it really be October already?), a quick glance at my planning calendar reveals some interesting special days during the month before us.

The fact that it’s Children’s Magazine Month reminds me of that childhood favorite Highlights for Children. I always associate it with my original optometrist, Dr. George Goodman, because he had that magazine in his tiny waiting room in downtown Knoxville. I loved looking for the hidden objects buried within the illustrations and the quizzes where two seemingly identical illustrations challenged young readers to identify the subtle differences.

And its being Clergy Appreciation Month reminds me of some good, influential pastors I’ve had over the years, from James Blizzard (left) during my adolescent years to my current pastor, Dr. Don Heinrich. Like anyone else, pastors get discouraged and perhaps think that their ministries are having no impact on anyone. We should let them know otherwise. The apostle Paul wrote that we should remember not only what we’ve learned about God and His Word but also from whom we learned those truths (2 Tim. 3:14).

And October is National Book Month, a good time to put in a not-so-subtle plug for my book Confederate Cabinet Departments and Secretaries. I’m not a bit biased when

I say this, but it must be good–I just learned that among the colleges and universities that have purchased my book (which is about the civilian government of the Confederacy) is the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. Go figure! (Was that section on the surgeon general really that good?)

The first week of October is designated National Carry a Tune Week. My! How badly I wish I could commemorate that special week by belting out a song, but if I did, someone would be sure to belt me! I can’t carry a tune in a bucket. Mrs. Smelser, our elementary school music teacher, had a teaching method that only exacerbated my problem. She lined up all the boys in front of the music room and had us sing. As we sang (or attempted to), she walked along the line, listening to each person. Knowing that I couldn’t sing well, I sang ever more softly as she approached me. By the time she got to me, I was doing nothing more than “mouthing” the song. She even put her ear up to my face, trying to detect a note slipping out somewhere. I still made the sixth-grade chorus that sang in the All-Knox County Schools concert at the University of Tennessee. (I recall singing some song in Latin that sounded all the world to me like “pawnee soon jelly goose!” It never made sense to me. Why would a Pawnee Indian need a quick jelly goose?) So I won’t be doing any crooning during the first week of October.

But there is one day I can celebrate–tomorrow: Old People’s Day! I generally don’t feel as though I’m old during the daylight hours. At least my mind tells me I’m still young. But, oh! Those early mornings and late nights suddenly bring reality before me! Although I still force myself to get up early (4:45 a.m., to be precise), the old body makes me start thinking of bedtime earlier every week. In the coming winter months, that won’t be so bad, but when we change our clocks in the spring and it stays light longer, that’s a different story. I guess I’ll just have to put on my sunglasses and go to bed when the old body dictates.

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