October weather is the best ever! I love the cool nights that are warmed by the sun into the 70s. But what I love the most is the blue sky. Fall is the only time we get that deep blue, cloudless sky, and it’s usually in October. I’m always reminded of a poem I was required to memorize when I was in elementary school—“October’s Bright Blue Weather” by Helen Hunt Jackson. I still remember the first verse,
O suns and skies and clouds of June,
And flowers of June together,
Ye cannot rival for one hour
October’s bright blue weather.
In the Smokies last week I saw purple gentians and remembered that gentians were mentioned in that poem. Yes, there they were—in October.
My mother loved to quote poetry and her rival was her sister Juanita’s husband Gilliam Hawkins. They were kindred spirits when it came to poetry. Often one would call the other for help remembering a line of a poem memorized long before. And when the one called gave the rest of the line—or the rest of the poem—the other would say, “I knew I could count on you to know it!” It was a friendly rivalry.
When we were children, Mother often recalled a poem to fit the occasion. I know a few poems, but with my own children I was more likely to burst into song. “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning!” and “When the Moon Comes Over the Mountain” were more likely to bring more groans than admiration, but I just couldn’t resist. After Kelsey was no longer living at home, she admitted she hated being awakened with “Rise and Shine and Give God the Glory.” I had no idea. I thought it was a fun way to awaken her.
But one song that Kelsey did love was “Has Anybody Here Seen Kelsey?” to the tune and with similar words to the chorus of “Has Anybody Here Seen Kelly?” “Has anybody here seen Kelsey? K-E-LSE-Y. Has anybody here seen Kelsey? Kelsey makes you smile. Oh, her hair is red, her eyes are blue, and she’s charming through and through. Has anybody here seen Kelsey? Kelsey with the big blue eyes.” I could even have left in “and she’s Irish through and through,” as it turned out. Never mind that her eyes eventually changed to green. It’s still her song.
And how do I know she liked it? Because now she’s adapted her song to fit Findlay, which starts “Findlay Mahony Boyd Byers, a boy everybody admires.” You have to hand it to her, to be able to fit that long name into a song!