October is always a busy month for me, and it has nothing to do with Columbus Day or Halloween. I do buy some candy in case the little blackmailers show up at my door. Despite the increased culture of violence the "tricks" in the trick-or-treat phrase seem less frequent than when I was a kid. Back then we would carry a candy-collection bag in one hand and a bar of soap in the other just in case someone had some crazy notion of not giving us something. I can't remember the last time I saw a soaped window. Of course, I might be the last person on earth who still uses bar soap instead of body wash.
September is the end of a quarter, which means royalties to compute and checks to write to authors from my publishing business. It also means it's time to file the quarterly sales tax report. I have no less than four book projects in queue. My church has Homecoming in October, and it's a big deal at Collins UMC, where I am lay leader.
Of course there's post-season baseball, which used to mean annual trips to Braves' games -- and this year it means that once again. Friday night I'll be at Turner Field. Hopefully before the month is gone, the World Series will be in Atlanta again.
More than all of this, though, is my father's 88th birthday, which falls on October 23. Dad's in a nursing home in Indiana (a few miles from his birthplace). He and Mom had been married for 67-plus years when Mom passed away in the spring of 2012. I'm an only child. So visiting Dad on his birthday is not an optional event, it's downright mandatory. Especially given that every year on Father's Day I'm at Epworth-by-the-Sea for the Southeastern Writers Association Workshop.
This entails a trip to Indiana, 9 hours in the car each way if traffic isn't bad. Flying isn't worth the hassle of airports, airport security lines, car rentals -- the closest airport to the nursing home is about 70 miles away. Last Christmas I had a blanket specially made for my dad with a picture of Mom and him (full-blanket-sized) covering it. I figured since he'd complained a lot about people stealing his covers at the nursing home that he'd be able to keep track of that one, particularly since I had "Property of Max Clevenger" added at the bottom.
Dad, however, wanted to hang it on the wall rather than use it as a blanket. And that brought on a new problem because the nursing home requires such things be fireproofed before doing so. Figuring that hiring an upholstery shop to do the fireproofing would be rather expensive; I searched for an alternative and found a company in California that sells a chemical to treat the blanket. I ordered a gallon of it, and my cousin has told me she has a sprayer I can use to apply it. All we'll need is a day that's not windy because it'll need to be done outside. No worries about intruding on the neighbors if my aim isn't perfect; my cousin lives on a farm.
If busy is good I'll have a great month. See y'all right here in The Purple Pros in November.
~~ Lee Clevenger
Lee is the current President of SWA, an author and co-founder of ThomasMax Publishing in Atlanta, GA.