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Christmas in October

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Posted 10-17-2010 at 05:38 PM by Jeff Westover
Tags baseball

Years ago when I would walk to work I passed the front window of a department store. Most of the time I'd admire the window but around Thanksgiving I found myself dreading it. Each year I would brace myself for the sign I would see that would really set me off. The window would be covered in brown paper and a single sign would simply read "Unlike our competitors we like to celebrate our holidays one at a time and we refuse to show our new Christmas window until it is actually Christmas".

I never understood that.

I get that people don't like seeing Christmas coming too early. I understand if folks become impatient with stores packed with holiday merchandise displayed with fertilizer and flip-flops. But do we have to be snotty about it?

After all, it is Christmas. What is really wrong with songs on the radio that send a message of hope? Is seeing a Christmas tree during Indian summer really a burden? When Christmas comes around I hear people every year say "Gee, I wish it could be Christmas every day!"

I see nothing wrong with that. In my little mind, I have to ask, why not?

Believe it or not, I am a believer in doing things in their season.

Yes, I love Christmas and I'm here doing my thiing year round. But in my life, especially as I have become older, I've learned to live for the moment.

Right now, it is October, one of my favorite times of the year.

I loathe the long summers here in the desert and October dismisses it completely. At the first of the month of October we're stacking firewood -- by Halloween night we're burning it. I love that shift.

Another rite of passage is -- and this isn't, I've learned, totally a guy thing -- October baseball.

I'm not a sports guy really. As a kid I wasn't much of an athlete and in school I definitely wasn't a jock. I'm a geek and always have been. But baseball has been in my blood since my earliest days. The game, despite it's flaws, is poetry to me and I never tire of the intrique of it all. October baseball is simply the best, no matter who is playing.

I grew up in Northern California and rooted for both the A's and the Giants. While a little leaguer I attended an A's game with my team and we all tried desperately to get the attention of our favorite players. I was torn in those days between two players -- Joe Rudi and Reggie Jackson.

During batting practice we lined the outfield fence near the foul pole and tried to get the attention of those players shagging fly-balls. Since Reggie was closer to me than any other player, I yelled and yelled for his attention.

I was as shocked as a ten year old could be when he at last acknowledged me -- with language I had never heard before.

It totally deflated me and I instantly lost my love and admiration for him and the A's that day. My loyalties shifted almost immediately to the Giants, and my long time favorite, who I knew would never do such a thing, Willie McCovey.

I have been a Giants fan ever since, living and dying -- mostly dying -- with each passing season. If they played baseball in October it somehow set my year right and made each season, from the burning heat of summer to the glow of Christmas, somehow fall exactly into order.

This year I'm having a good October. The firewood is stacked. And the Giants are playing baseball. I'm loving it.

The dream would be to see the Giants make it to the World Series. Even better would be to see them play against the Yankees, the team my Nana loved and rooted for. Though she died when I was quite young I have this enduring memory of her -- an understanding of the beauty of baseball and a love for it. She was from New York, grew up there and knew through out her young life only the legendary exploits of the mighty New York Yankees.

To see the Giants take them on in the World Series would be like topping the tree with an angel holding a star.

Of course, that need not happen for me to have a good fall season and a great Christmas. A great Christmas is a given.

But -- Santa, PLEASE -- make it happen. Just this once.

After all, my sign for Christmas is up year round.
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