It’s always a shock to the system when the summer evaporates, the air cools down and school resumes. Somehow, we wish we could throw a switch and cause summer to linger just a little bit longer. But, alas, Mother Nature always has her own timetable and only she decides on the exact timing of the changing of the seasons.
• It was an observer of the colourful fall extravaganza who had this line: “One of the nice things about Mother Nature is how, every fall, she blushes before disrobing!"
• Another sage of the season said that there are two kinds of people in this world — poets to write about the glories of autumn and the rest of us to rake them.
Checking the September calendar:
• September 3, 1752 — A day that never happened in England. In fact, that day and the next 10 never occurred as England adopted the Gregorian Calendar. This changeover on September 2, 1752, required that 11 days be dropped. The calendar adjustment did not sit well with the citizens of the day, who rioted when they thought that the government had stolen 11 days out of their lives.
• September 3, 1962 — The Trans-Canada Highway was officially opened, or September 4 in Newfoundland. Sorry, a little attempt at time-zone humour.
• September 4, 1833 — This is how far back we have to go to find the first “newsboy” in North America. It was 10- year-old Barney Flaherty, who was hired to sell copies of the New York Sun.
• September 9, 1908 — Orville and Wilbur did it again. This time, Orville set a new aviation record when he stayed aloft for one hour and two minutes in that new-fangled device they called an airplane.
• September 10, 1927 — How’s this for an idea — a frankfurter with a zipper. An American meat-packing company claimed it had invented such a thing, urging customers to boil the frankfurter in its zippered-casing and then discard the casing.
• September 9, 1956 — Elvis Presley made the first of three appearances on the old Ed Sullivan Toast of the Town TV show. Later episodes, of which, nostalgically, sometimes turn up on assorted specialty channels these days.
Ironically, Ed wasn’t hosting that first night that Elvis was on. Actor Charles Laughton was filling in and Elvis and Laughton never actually met. Elvis’s two songs were broadcast from Hollywood, while Laughton was at the CBS studios in New York.
The ratings for Elvis’ appearance on the Sullivan show were astronomical —83 per cent of the viewing audience, or about 54-million people watched. That ratings record stood until 1964 when the Beatles appeared on Sullivan’s show.
When we were growing up, Ed was always joked about, as he was pretty robotic as a host, but he certainly knew what acts to book and when to book them.
• September 18, 1769 — The Boston Gazette was the first newspaper to describe the modern piano, which was made by John Harris.
• September 18, 1975 — How’s this for a little downpour. This day produced a low pressure system over Winnipeg that brought enormous rainfalls to the province. For example, Riding Mountain National Park got more rain in one day than any Manitoba location ever experienced — 217 millimetres (8.5 inches). Dauphin had 294 millimetres in 60 hours. That’s almost 12 inches of rain in two and half days.
On the same subject: the month of September also produced the most intense rainfall ever occurring in the continental U.S. On September 9, 1921, a place called Thrall, Texas, received 950 millimetres (38 inches) of rain in just 24 hours.
• September 23 — Officially, the first day of fall. As the Autumn Equinox arrives, the sun is directly over the equator, the daylight hours shorten and we get ready to head into winter. Soon, the sun will be rising about two minutes later each day and setting about two minutes earlier. Next stop is the Winter Solstice around December 21.
• Wednesday, September 24 — Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year celebration. It’s followed on Friday, October 3, by Yom Kippur.
• September 24, 1934 — Babe Ruth made his final appearance as a regular player with the Yankees in New York. The Babe’s first professional home run in baseball had come in the same month, 20 years earlier.
• September 26, 1966 — Here’s a Yankee episode from a later era. On this occasion, the Yanks were in last place and were playing to the smallest crowd ever at Yankee Stadium, a mere 413 diehard fans. Not so much a crowd as a small group.
Club officials, understandably embarrassed by the under-populated stadium, refused to allow a TV camera-shot of the 59,597 empty seats. That particular shot was requested by Yankees play-by-play man Red Barber, who told viewers: “The smallest crowd is the story today, not the ball game.” Red was unceremoniously fired for his honesty.