The streets are still damp from a full day of mist and rain, but at least it’s Saturday. Plus my coffee is wonderfully robust and hot. In other words it’s a perfect introduction to a favorite of our seasons; Halloween.

As an aside, Marcia just came in the room to mention that she spotted two deer J-walk across our busy street – that’s about what I saw all summer up in the north woods.

But, back to my Ramblings, this special week we’re kicking Halloween off with two verses of Scotland’s favorite poet, Robert Burn’s poem, Halloween, the first and the last [the middle verses mostly have the Lassies and the Lads trying very hard to match up in the dark while the party rages]:

”Upon that night, when fairies light
On Cassilis Downans dance,
Or owre the lays, in splendid blaze,
On sprightly coursers prance;
Or for Colean the rout is ta’en,
Beneath the moon’s pale beams;
There, up the Cove, to stray an’ rove,
Amang the rocks and streams
To sport that night;

Wi’ merry sangs, an’ friendly cracks,
I wat they did na weary;
And unco tales, an’ funnie jokes
Their sports were cheap an’ cheery:
Till butter’d sowens, wi’ fragrant lunt,
Set a’ their gabs a-steerin;
Syne, wi’ a social glass o’ strunt,
They parted aff careerin
Fu’ blythe that night.”
~ Robert Burns [written in 1785]

Celtic Halloween and Burns – was celebrated a bit different from the way we do; ”American style ‘trick or treat’ juvenile extortion rackets have largely replaced Scottish guising. A tradition whereby, to earn sweets or toffee apples, children sang, recited, ducked for apples with forks in their mouths and tried to eat treacle slathered bread suspended from a washing line. Yet Hallowe’en retains some of its eerie allure. For the Celts the last day of October was when the air separating the living from the dead grew thin. Thanks to a folk tale loving relative of his mother, Robert Burns was brought up on spooky yarns, scary songs and superstitious lore of every spine tingling sort. Despite some creepy foreboding the locals enjoying this Hallowe’en party end up blithe enough.” ~ Donny O’Rourke

A blatant pitch – Never before in my Ramblings  have I promoted any product. In fact if I mention a product it’s usually in the form of some rant. This time it’s not.
Last weekend I needed a new toothbrush and caved in to the ads I’d been hearing all summer on our XM Radio. It’s a small easily tossed in a bag sized electric toothbrush sold under the name of Quip. It runs three months on a little AAA battery and I LOVE the thing. So there, you my reader have just experienced a first.

CCJO – Last week I wrote a bit about my evening at the Cincinnati Contemporary Jazz Orchestra, which blew me away. The guest soloist I mentioned, Scott Robinson, also had a concert last Sunday at the nearby First Unitarian Church and I convinced Marcia to join me there. In a smallish setting with some wine and cheese during intermission meant that she was delighted. In fact we were both delighted. That guy’s mastery of reeds and horns is amazing

Marin and a Dedication – This past summer Marin was part of an internship program. Cincinnati has a non-profit group, ArtWorks, which hired 175 youth throughout the city to paint an array of outdoor murals. Marin’s team of 14 worked on an addition to a neighborhood magnet school, the Schiff Wellness Center at the Academy of World Languages (AWL). The mural was designed by artist collaborators from Baltimore, Jessie and Katey (click on the link to see some of their stunning work). This week the ArtWorks’ finished project was dedicated and Marcia and I were privileged to attend
I had no idea that the AWL existed and that as a preschool-eighth grade magnet school it offers Russian, Chinese, Arabic and Japanese, as well as English to children from more than 40 countries. And, that to better assist these recent immigrant kids and their families to settle into what is culturally a vastly differing world, the Schiff Wellness Center was added. Using mostly private foundation monies, the $2.5million Schiff Center has a primary care center with four exam rooms, a dental center with four chairs, a vision care center with the capacity to serve three kids at a time, as well as space for a mental health therapist and case managers. Wow! Great work Marin!

Once all was complete we finished up the evening with dinner at one of Marcia’s favorite eateries; Suzie Wong’s. A great finish to a wonderful early evening.

Finis – Last evening I joined in with Adrianne and Tevita for a Halloween evening at the local Nature Center for the kids. It sure looked like they all had a great time, I did.

Derek’s High School Marching Band came in first place in their division and will start playing in the area tournament. He’s super excited and Oma and Opa are delighted.

And, Vili is starting his soccer tournament this afternoon. Big time for the little guy.

And, talking soccer, Cincinnati’s newly formed Major League soccer team; FC Cincinnati is also taken a first step into the playoffs.

Yesterday Marcia made me buy a new shirt for a party we’re heading to two weeks from today. These things (clothes purchases) normally don’t rank very high on my list and so I prefer a shopping in and out. This also meant that I purchased the wrong size (slim-fit) and had to dash back for an exchange – I did like the color and fabric though. While we were out and about Marcia ducked into our local Board of Elections office to cast her vote early, so now we have both done our civic duty.

Make it a great week.

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