Welcome to October 2021
October comes around every year, but it’s a month full of surprises for the rabbit population. Yes, dear bunny friends, October is the season of leaf excursions, apple dipping (in caramel, no longer in washtubs, due to COVID), and costumes. Ghosts and ghouls roam the streets along with superheroes and princesses, but all alike want a treat from each and every address or open vehicle trunk. I personally favor October, since it begins with International Coffee Day on October 1st. As frequent readers know, this bunny’s blood is at least half caffeinated during the daylight hours.
October 5th is the beginning of Pchum Ben, which is a time for Cambodians to honor their previous seven generations of ancestors. This coincides with the Taoist Ghost Festival offerings of food to the spirits which haven’t yet passed onto a better life. We’ll see this type of festival honoring the dead in other countries throughout the month of October.
Somehow October seems the most normal of our calendar months, no matter what chaos is ongoing in the world beyond. The boys of summer are about to play for baseball’s World Series, NASCAR is deep into its playoff elimination races, the NFL has begun to sort out its better teams, and both professional basketball and hockey are just starting their long seasons. Those bunnies among us who escape the cares of this world by watching sports have no problem finding a balm for our pain.
We don’t have to care about sports, however, to enjoy October. The cooler nights, shortened days, and the sight of early leaf changes are enough to quicken our spirits. I’ve even made my first sighting of a sweater worn in public, which I thought was an outlier or early bird, since the outside temperature was nearly 90F.
Yet we bunnies are aware October can bring a surprise: Black Monday was unexpected on October 19, 1987, for instance, when the Dow Jones Index fell 22% in one day. That crash precipitated a worldwide market decline, causing a loss of 20% everywhere. We have failsafe mechanisms in place now, which prevent trades when a severe dip happens due to computer trading. My phone didn’t stop ringing at my desk on that fateful day, as all my clients called in panicking over this event. I had to reassure them their life insurance and annuities were safe because everyone remembered the big crash of 1929.
“Black Thursday” happened on October 24, when the New York Stock Exchange saw nearly 13 million shares sold in panic selling, followed by “Black Tuesday,” on October 29, when the stock market crashed as over 16 million shares were dumped amid tumbling prices. The Great Depression followed in America, lasting for a decade until the outbreak of World War II on September 1, 1939.
After my day was over, I called my daddy to get his perspective.
“Are you worried about your investments?” I asked him, knowing his retirement was wrapped up in the market.
“Oh no, I bought at a low price, those shares have split several times, and I still have a few years before I need to use them.”
I sighed with relief.
“Today isn’t important,” he reminded me, “but the future will prove itself for those who stick to the plan. Don’t sell out at a loss, for the market always comes back.”
There’s a rhythm of life my old daddy knew about. We go through peaks and valleys in our existence, just as nature goes through the seasons. We aren’t always in the springtime of youth, no matter how much we long to be quick and nimble. As I age, no longer do I find all things rise to the crisis level as they once did in my youth, when I was daily overwhelmed with not just bad hair days, but floods and famines as soon as I rolled out of my comfy bunny bed.
Some of us rabbits are now long of tooth and remember the bad old 1970’s era of stagflation, when we had slow economic growth along with with high rates of inflation. Today’s inflation is caused by temporary shortages due to supply chain hiccups and increased shipping charges from overseas production sites. Still, some bunnies have very low risk tolerance and no longer hold any of their savings in the stock market. Instead, these bunnies choose the safer risk of interest bearing accounts, but expose their smaller earnings to the higher risk of inflation.
My old grandmother bunny said some were “penny wise and pound foolish,” but a few bunnies still will waste $5 worth of gasoline driving all over town just to save a few pennies on their groceries. As my daddy bunny said, “Keep your eye on the main prize.” If a bunny were counting mileage reimbursement rates, a 24 mile round trip to avoid a $2.50 ATM charge actually cost $13.44, with a net cost of $10.94. If I were this bunny, I’d pay the ATM fee in town and take myself out to lunch also, plus save an hour of my time for something I thought was more profitable or enjoyable. But, some bunnies see the tree, and never see the forest. Always look for the big picture. (Check out the Recipe at the bottom of the page for an example of this principle).
Henry Ford sold the first Model T on October 1, 1908. It was a universal car, designed for the masses, or the “Everyman’s Car.” Also in October, the Cleveland Indians hired Frank Robinson as baseball’s first African American major league manager in 1974.
October 4 is notable because the Russians launched Sputnik I to begin the Space Age, 1957, and for Rutherford B Hays’s birthday (1822-1893). As the 19th U.S. President, he was a Republican best known for his much-quoted statement, “He serves his party best who serves his country best.”
On October 13, 1792, George Washington laid the cornerstone of the White House at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. James Hoban designed the building, constructed by both slave and free laborers and once known as the “Presidential Palace,” which is three stories tall with over 100 rooms. In November of 1800, President John Adams and his family moved into what we now know as the “White House” or the “Executive Mansion.” British troops burned it in 1814, but it was reconstructed, refurbished and reoccupied in 1817.
On October 14, 1964, Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., at age 35 became the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. He donated the $54,000 in prize money to the Civil Rights movement. Today, Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan holds the record as the youngest Nobel Prize recipient at age 17 for her work with education for girls and peace.
On October 19, 1781, as their band played The World Turned Upside Down, the British Army, led by British General Lord Cornwallis, marched out in formation and surrendered to General George Washington and the American Army at Yorktown. The final peace treaty was signed in Paris on September 3, 1783.
The ‘Saturday Night Massacre’ occurred on October 20, 1973, during the Watergate scandal when President Richard M. Nixon fired Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus. Attorney General Elliot Richardson resigned. The firestorm of political protest which erupted over the firings led to widespread demands for Nixon’s impeachment.
October 21 is notable in history for two reasons: Thomas Edison kept an electric incandescent lamp with a carbonized filament lit for over 13 hours in his Menlo Park laboratory, New Jersey in 1789. The American Telephone and Telegraph Company made the first transatlantic radio voice message from Virginia to Paris in 1915. What would we rabbits do today without electric lights, air conditioning, internet, and cell phones? Maybe we’d go back to writing letters by candlelight.
The first transcontinental telegram in America was sent from the Chief Justice of California in San Francisco to President Abraham Lincoln in Washington DC, on October 24, 1861.
We celebrate National Pumpkin Day on October 26, so the one seasonal question all the bunnies ask is, “When will the frost be on the pumpkin?” In Arkansas, freezes typically occur by the last week in October across northern and western sections of the state (the Ozark and Ouachita Mountains). Elsewhere in the state, freezes tend to hold off until the first couple of weeks in November. Pumpkins have been grown in North America for almost 5,000 years and once were thought to cure snakebites. A bunny who nibbles on a slice of pumpkin pie before bedtime may sleep better, or we tell ourselves that anyway. I personally always have room for pie.
The Statue of Liberty, a gift from the people of France commemorating the French-American alliance during the War for Independence, was dedicated on Bedloe’s Island in New York Harbor on October 28, 1886. Frederic Auguste Bartholdi was the the sculptor and the entire structure stands 300 feet tall. The pedestal contains the words: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” Today we have new partners from our former Afghanistan war to welcome into our midst, plus we have historic alliances to repair after Britain’s exit from the European Union and the turmoil of the past few years.
October 28 marks the birthday of Dr. Jonas Salk (1914-1995) in New York City. In 1952, he developed a vaccine for the dreaded childhood disease Polio (poliomyelitis, also known as infantile paralysis). His vaccine reduced deaths from Polio in the U.S. by 95%. This was one of the first nationwide safe and widely accepted vaccine programs. In fact, it was so eagerly sought after, demand exceeded supply. Of course, production was more difficult in those days. It’s also National Chocolate Day. Why chocolate only gets one day is beyond the comprehension of this chocolate loving bunny.
Actor Orson Welles and the Mercury Players dramatized The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells, a story depicting a Martian invasion of New Jersey on October 30, 1938. The radio broadcast panicked millions of Americans because the script utilized simulated radio news bulletins which many listeners thought were real.
All good bunnies go trick or treating on Halloween or All Hallow’s Eve, every October 31st, in the great tradition of combining the Christian festival of All Saints with ancient Pagan autumn festivals. The harvest marks the end of the growing season, and the land will lie fallow in rest until it’s reborn again when new crops are sown and the seeds which overwintered come to life. For All Hallows or All Saints Day, remembering the deceased who now live in Christ, as well as their alternate spooky companions who still roam the earth, is part of our recognizing all that lives, both the good and the bad. In Mexico, the Dia de los Muertos celebrations also begin at the end of the month, with sugar skulls and decorative altars for the ancestors. Facing the darkness without helps a timid bunny to face the darkness within and to conquer the fear of both.
At this time of harvest we’re mindful of John Maynard Keynes, who was famous for his belief that “we can afford what we can actually do.” If we need a new kitchen, we’ll find a way to get that kitchen built and paid for, even if we finance the cost. If we keep “thinking about it,” we aren’t really interested spending money to make our current kitchen better, but would rather leave and find a better one we like more. After all, we just called a halt to a war in Afghanistan that cost us $300,000,000 per day for 20 years, or more than the net worths of Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Bill Gates and the 30 richest billionaires in America, combined ($2 trillion). That’s a lot of lettuce for some of us bunnies, and more than enough to fund social programs to rebuild America and invest in our future.
This same principle plays out every autumn in our places of worship, as we faithful rabbits consider our plans and budgets for the coming year. Often we look at our bank accounts, note the amount leftover, and dedicate that to the Lord’s work. Then we use this amount to guide what we can do. We rabbits limit the work of God’s purpose in this world by giving the leftovers of God’s blessing instead of the first fruits of the harvests of these blessings.
Every year Congress does the same, as it goes through its annual budget dance, as if it were some junior high sock hop. “Will he dance with me or just stand over there in the corner with his buddies, trying to look cool?” If this year ends up like some of the dance floors of old, my younger rabbit self and all her girlfriend bunnies will be in the spotlight dancing alone.
October was always a stressful time for the farmers I knew, for they worried Congress might not appropriate crop relief funds. I would remind them, “They do this dance for show every year, but they always come through. Don’t look at the dance. Look at the outcome.”
October is the time of harvest, and some will always say, “We can’t afford to do it,” but those rabbits are the ones who don’t want to do it in the first place. “Where there’s a will, there’s a way,” my old bunny mother always said. “Don’t let their NO stop you.” Perhaps the common denominator is the human heart, which is often borrowing trouble, as Proverbs 12:25 reminds us: “Anxiety weighs down the human heart, but a good word cheers it up.”
If we truly believe the words of holy scripture in Psalms 24:1—“The earth is the LORD’s and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it,” then all we are and all we have belong to God. To give God 10% off the top of our earnings isn’t difficult when we give as a responsive act of love. God has provided from the moment of creation for the sustenance of God’s creation, so we don’t need to worry our bunny heads. I’ve always suggested my former congregations could grow their gifts by 1% each year until they bring in the full tithe into the Lord’s house. Just as we can grow in faith, we can grow in our love of God and neighbor. We can also grow in our gifts to make our mission and ministries a possibility instead of a dream.
Joy, Peace, and Pumpkins,
October 9 Holidays & National Days | 2021 Calendar
The History Place – This Month in History: October
NWS Little Rock, AR – Frost and Freeze Information for Arkansas
Stagflation in the 1970s
Malala Yousafzai – Nobel Lecture
We can afford what we can actually do | by Alan Mitchell | MoneyMirage | Medium
Human and Budgetary Costs to Date of the U.S. War in Afghanistan, 2001-2022 | Figures | Costs of War
47 Years Ago in IDPH History
Growing Pumpkins: How to Plant, Grow, and Harvest Pumpkins | The Old Farmer’s Almanac
Hamburger Helper Package Recipe
Hamburger 80% lean $6/lb—3 oz—213 cal, 17 g fat, 14 g protein,
Hamburger Helper $1.67—1 cup—220 cal, 46 g carbs, 880 mg Na, 6 protein
For $1.53 each
Total calories = 433
Follow package directions. This is mostly precooked.
NEGATIVES: This recipe has over 50% of an adult’s daily recommended allowance of sodium in the package, which is 1500 mg.
Hamburger Helper Recipe From Scratch
Brown one pound of good hamburger meat with 1/2 chopped onion. When onion is clear, add sliced mushrooms, stir to keep from sticking. Check condition of boiling noodles. If done, drain and take off heat. Can add garlic, parsley, or other spices.
Hamburger 80% lean $6/lb—3 oz—213 cal, 17 g fat, 14 g protein,
1/2 Onion chopped medium @ $.50 ea = $.25
Mushrooms 8 oz $1.79—38 calories, 1 g fat, 7 g carbs, 7 g protein, 721 mg potassium
Stir in 1/2 can soup. Store other half in fridge in appropriate container.
Low sodium mushroom soup $.89—160 calories, 11 g fat, 12 g carbs, 2 g protein, 45 mg Na, 15 mg cholesterol (I’d probably use 1/2 of this and toss the hot egg noodles in it. )
Once the sauce is bubbling, add just a spoon of water if it’s too dry. Pour in sauce into noodle pan and heat the mixture, stirring gently. Divide and serve.
Kroger whole wheat egg noodles 12 oz $1.59—190 calories per 2 oz servings, 3 g fat, 39 g carb, 8 G protein, 20 mg Na, (Cook these separately, just tender to the tooth, drain, and toss hot noodles in the mix of meat, onions, mushrooms, and soup.)
For $2.15 each
Total calories per serving = 475 (460 with half can of soup) (very low sodium)
NEGATIVES: Costs $.62 more per serving
POSITIVES: More micronutrients, more protein, extremely low sodium (spices give the taste, not the salt)