“By all these lovely tokens, September days are here,
With summer’s best of weather, and autumn’s best of cheer.”
– Helen Hunt Jackson
Thirty days hath September, April, June, and November – but I had no idea there were so many special days and honored events packed into those brief 30 days.
Of course, after the calamitous 11th day of the month 11 years ago, most of our thoughts are on the somber anniversary we now remember every year on that day. But there are joyful, even comical days associated with these final days of summer, too. So even as we remove our mourning clothes for the loss forever known as “nine-eleven,” let’s also look back to a few of the September memories that make us laugh or bow in admiration.
Pardon the favoritism here, but I must say at the outset that September is “Be Kind to Editors and Writers Month.” Send all the nasty letters you want the other 11/12ths of the year but please, for just a few weeks, have a heart and say only nice things about those of us who, through the medium of the printed page, keep you informed, annoyed or at least entertained.
Beekeepers look forward to September each year for the celebration of “National Honey Month,” and the folks at Kellogg’s and General Mills must have had a hand in calling this “All-American Breakfast Month.” Someone has even written a song to sing with your Corn Flakes. Set to the tune Frere Jacques, it goes like this:
“Smells like breakfast, smells like breakfast; Mmm, mmm good; Mmm, mmm good. I can smell the bacon, I can smell the bacon; Mmm, mmm, good.”
September is also “Library Card Sign-up Month,” “National Chicken Month” (though I’m not sure if that’s in honor of chickenhood or their demise for our trips to KFC), “Classical Music Month,” “National Papaya Month,” and about 5,000 other things from the ridiculous to the sublime that probably aren’t worth laying in a supply of fireworks or hiring a band to celebrate.
On a lesser scale, and if not a whole month, some items earn at least a week of their own, including National Housekeepers Week, National Dog Week, National Banned Books Week and National Pickled Pepper Week. Then there are hundreds of groups entitled to at least one special September day: Working Mother’s Day, Carrot Sunday, Good Neighbor Day, National Blueberry Popsicle Day, and, at least in the United Kingdom, Pig Face Day.
Anniversaries of September events with varying degrees of importance fill more than 30 pages of a list I found on the Internet. You might not care to know the whole list, which includes birthdays of famous people, local holidays and specific events – like the day the first supermarket opened in England and the day the blind and deaf Helen Keller graduated from college. But here are a few you should know in case you are ever a contestant on “Jeopardy.” All these events happened on Sept. 1:
In 1859, the Pullman Sleeping Car was introduced; 1933, the first Popeye cartoon appeared; 1972, Bobby Fischer became American’s first world chess champion; and, in 1985, the wreck of the Titanic was found.
Also in September but later in the month, President Teddy Roosevelt made his famous, “Speak softly and carry a big stick” speech (1901); Babe Ruth hit his first home run (1914); the first Miss America was crowned (1921); and, in 1956, Elvis first appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show.
For the romantics in our midst, I leave you with Maxwell Anderson’s lyrics to his tender September Song:
“Oh, it’s a long, long while from May to December,
But the days grow short when you reach September.
When the autumn weather turns the leaves to flame,
One hasn’t time for the waiting game.
Oh, the days dwindle down to a precious few,
And these few precious days I’ll spend with you.”
(Barbara Seaborn is a local freelance writer and author of As Long As the Rivers Run: Highlights from Columbia County’s Past. Email comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.)