The ‘last gasp’ month is full of blessings

The 'last gasp' month is full of blessings
September gets its name from the Latin word "septem," meaning "seven."

That's because it was originally the seventh month of the year in the Roman Calendar. But when we changed to the Gregorian one, it became the 10th complete revolution of the moon (from which the word comes).

However, they just didn't want to foul up the language any more than they had to. So September stayed the same, even though it didn't make sense.

In South Dakota it could be called the "last gasp" month because summer has flitted away, school has started and the State Fair has begun. People everywhere have tried to stretch out the carefree days of June, July and August, knowing they'll have to shovel snow again soon.

We're not the only ones, though. Everybody tries to get in on the act. Highways are packed with cars, and planes fly overhead crammed full of people – with their shoes back on – trying to grab a little more vacation before they have to hunker down for the year.

Even Grandparents' Day on the tenth has a following in September. Labor Day on the fourth was celebrated extensively, so no one was left out.

I like what they do in Japan. They have a national holiday called Respect for the Aged on the third Monday of the month; and since I qualify, I'm partial to it.

Other countries remember the month, too. Canada has its Labour Day (like ours, only they spell it differently), and Australia has Father's Day on the first Sunday (which means I could fly there and get in on another one).

But Germany and China have it all wrong. The Germans celebrate their Oktoberfest and the Chinese their August Moon festival in September, of all things.

Hitler chose September to send his blitzkrieg into Poland to start World War II; and it ended in the same month in Japan six years later when the Nipponese signed the peace treaty on the USS Missouri, after they'd surrendered.

Did you know that September as well as December begins on the same day of the week every year? Oh, and I almost forgot that the Roman emperor Caligula tried to rename the tenth month Germanica after his father – and you thought I hadn't researched the subject thoroughly!

All in all, September is a pretty good month. Although I hate to see summer disappear, it means that football season is here, and that's a good trade-off.

I like fall colors and the cooler weather. And pretty soon it will be hunting time again. That's something to look forward to, even though I have given up the sport. It's always good to see the younger guys and their dogs gearing up to go out after a ringneck or two.

So here's to September, the "last gasp" month. It may end the drouth, too, and that would be a blessing for all of us.

© 2006 Robert F. Karolevitz

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