Autumnal Color Riot Mentality

We are ALL Dr. Babooner

Dear Dr. Babooner,

Every year we have a wonderful Autumn tradition in our little town – a Pumpkin Festival that provides a lot of good old-fashioned fun for families from the surrounding area.

There is something invigorating about standing outside with a nice hot cup of apple cider on a sunny, brisk afternoon. The bright yellows, reds and rusts of the elms and maples frame a glorious display –  the deep blue of an October sky,  punctuated by crimson beams from police cruisers darting playfully through billowing clouds of tear gas!

Vivid piles of orange Jack-o-Lanterns dot the scene.  The sharp, invigorating air is filled with the falling of the leaves and the rising of rocks, skateboards and buckets as they are petulantly hurled at a line of officers in riot gear.

“I love autumn,” I whisper to my sweetheart.  I bury my face in the shoulder of his jacket to keep my eyes from watering.   My ears fill with a chorus of seasonal sounds – the delightful crunch of the leaves, the determined scraping of a bamboo rake,  and the insistent crackle of a bullhorn as the local sheriff orders us to disperse!

Dr. Babooner, I realize that not everyone fully appreciates the beauty of October, but  I always come to harvest time with thoughts of gratitude for being able to witness a remarkable transformation. The bounty is in.  The summer has surrendered.  The landscape erupts with color.  My car is upside down and burning on the street just a few feet from where I left it.

How can I help others embrace the wonder of this remarkable season?

Pumpkin Spice Girl

I reminded PSG that all beauty is in the eye of the beholder – defined not only by the things you see, but what you choose to overlook.
But that’s just one opinion. What do YOU think, Dr. Babooner?

42 thoughts on “Autumnal Color Riot Mentality”

  1. Good morning. I always assumed that the riot to be experienced in the fall at pumpkin festivals would be a riot of fall colors, not a riot of crazed people. Pumpkin Spice Girl, I assume you are more for the the riot of fall colors and not for the riot of crazed people. It seems that the rioting people are not really showing very good appreciation for the beauty of fall. Perhaps you should walk among the rioters spreading a message of peace and suggesting they should use pumpkins to make pies and not engage in smashing them.


  2. i think when the beauty of the fall afternoon in the brisk clean air is interrupted by the bull horn of the police telling the crowd to disperse its time to say “down with the pigs” and burn their squad cars.
    ahhh i miss the college days of the 70’s when protest in the air was a thing of beauty. i believe protest gets a bad rap by the man. he wants us all to sit and be quiet. who ever heard of young people making a difference by being quiet? tear gas, tazers, riot gear? t does my heart good. it restores my faith in the younger generation.

    celebrate america go fight youth
    screw the man, he so uncouth
    flip over cars and burn em on the street
    college in new hampshire it sure is neat

    ahh to be young again. wear red to show your support of keene state college

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There was a fairly large group of young people on the buses from Minnesota that went to the Climate March in New York city. Also, there were a number older people who may have been among those people who you remember as demonstrators in the 70s, tim.


    2. Um, what injustice was being protested at Keene?

      I have yet to find any source that suggests this was anything but random mayhem for it’s own sake. I’m against that.

      It might be a radical position, but I think people have a right to expect that their vehicle will be in the same shape as when they parked it.

      I went to the great State Street Halloween party in Madison in the mid-80s. Amazing costumes and wall-to-wall people. No real mayhem necessary.


      Liked by 4 people

  3. Rise and Riot Baboons!

    OT: WP did arecen udate on my iPad, leaving it a lurchy, poorly spelled mess.

    I always thought autumn was best celebrated wi a arved pumpkin, and cupo hot cider, and a bn fire. But then what do I know?

    And now you have a sample of WP’s update. GRRR.


  4. We have had a pretty beautiful autumn out here this year, though nothing to compare to New Hampshire. Mayhem has become pretty standard if our local paper is to be believed, with shootings, bar fights, thefts of tools from work sites and unlocked vehicles with the keys left in them (Habits die hard out here. Until the last few years, you could leave your vehicles unlocked with the keys in them and they would still be there in the morning).

    Liked by 1 person

  5. People forget (if they ever knew) that the origins of Halloween include the notion that it was a time for young people to do truly naughty things, like tipping over outhouses. “Trick or treat” is now just a cute way of saying “give me sugary treats!” It used to be a real threat: give me what I want or I will do something unpleasant to you. Even as recently as the 1940s and 1950s there was the prospect that a home that didn’t deliver candy on demand would have windows soaped. Over time, that stuff has been driven out of Halloween and instead we have this great candy binge where nobody is threatened and nobody gets hurt.

    Given the psychology of this baboon group, I think it is too easy for us to be disgruntled with new forms of social interaction. Specifically, the call for more real protest (as in the 1970s) seems questionable to me. What I read about young folks today suggests they are truly committed to social change. They just don’t believe in protests of the old sort. As someone who lived through those days of protest I guess I miss the old anger but not the way it got expressed. There was a lot of silly posturing, with young folks making theater of their sense of disillusionment with old outrageous conduct by our government. I trust young folks disaffected with the old politics to find better ways than riots to express their values.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I was a small child during Kent State. The fact that you could be shot and killed, even as an onlooker really put the damper on the idea of taking it to the streets.

      Today we have “stand your ground”, “castle doctrine” and any number of talking heads telling the already fearful to prepare to bunker down and make sure you have plenty of ammo.

      We do not have a draft.

      Violent protest simply makes no sense to me at this time.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. For me, fall is the season of loud leaf blowers and severe allergies. Still, l’d hate to live in a state where the seasons never change. There’s certain sweet flow to life and a transition from one set of behaviors to another with the change of seasons which almost makes winters bearable.

    Halloween remains fun for me because l get to dress up in tawdry costumes for the big party at the Narrows. This year, l’m going as a cougar, complete with a tail and cougar ears. And a studded collar and a whip 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Pumpkin soup

    1 quart milk
    2 tablespoons butter
    1/3 cup flour
    2 cups cooked, mashed pumpkin
    salt, to taste
    freshly ground pepper, to taste
    2 teaspoons ground cumin
    1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    1/2 teaspoon ginger
    1/2 teaspoon turmeric
    1/2 teaspoon allspice
    1/4 teaspoon cloves

    Heat the milk. Knead together the butter and the flour. Drop this mixture in pea-sized pieces into the milk, beating well after each addition. when the milk is thickened and smooth, stir in the pumpkin and seasonings. Cook, stirring constantly, until the soup has thickened and is very hot.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. In Mythology in college almost 50 years ago, I wrote a paper on how common “let it all hang out festivals” were across cultures. The Greeks had the Bacchanal, the original source of my idea. Many of the festivals were associate with harvest, as was the Bacchanal.The Bacchanal started out sort of tame halloweenish, but became riotous, including in the end things like pillage, rape, and arson.
    I thing a reasonable period of ignoring the rules is part of culture, of all but the uptight souls. When I taught a mythology class for two years, we had a Bacchanal in the classroom, a potluck really, which no one would dare to today, the USDA would take deep offense–speaking of rules which incite rule-breaking.
    During the Bacchanal week students could do a nose-thumbing sort of non-destructive activity in the school or community. Kids were bad at inventing them, as was I. A group of four girls, two very good students and two indifferent students if not problem students, did their event several times.They linked arms and skipped singing some heavy metal song. They did this in the school hallways at passing time, did it “downtown” Two Harbors and did it coming into a basketball game.
    One of my best students ever and my yearbook editor decided she was going to roam the halls of the school without a hall pass during the study hall she had in my room as part of the yearbook. She roamed at will. Every teacher and hall monitor assumed SHE could not be out and about without permission. She was so disappointed. So she wrote a paper on always being the responsible one who would do no wrong, which she was in a family of six kids (she was a pk, too). She is now a principal of an elementary school in St. Paul. She loves the mildly rebellious kids, usually boys she says.
    The Bacchanal, which the second year was during first semester so I could do it at Halloween, got followed up by a silly pumpkin-drawing contest. It had categories like most childish, least artistic, best use of a handprint, and one we called not-to-be-named, which meant making it a characature of the martinet assistant principal, who never caught on in the six or so years I did it.
    Students would send in entries from college. And the too-responsible yearbook editor sent 33 entries from the second grade class she taught in N. Carolina.
    My best friend, a social studies teacher, for years got post cards from all over the world saying “Wish you were here. Kilgore Trout.”
    The student confessed thirty years later. Dave kept them all. The student had been in my mythology class. Not sure there is a connection there or not.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. For those of you who asked for my tart recipe on Sunday, here it is. Not sure who can put something on the Kitchen Congress….

    Sherrilee’s Rustic Apple Tart

    1 double pie crust (I used Martha Stewart’s basic crust this time)
    8-10 Cortland apples (although you can use whatever you like)
    ½ cup sugar
    2 Tbsp cornstarch
    3-4 tsp cinnamon
    2 Tbsp butter, cut into little bits

    1. Peel and slice the apples to a thickness you like.
    2. Combine with sugar, cornstarch and cinnamon. Set aside.
    3. Roll out the entire crust recipe into a big oblong or circle (depending on size of your baking pan!)
    4. Spoon apples onto crust, leaving 2-3 inches on all sides. Smush the apples around so they are fairly evenly distributed.
    5. Fold the crust up over the edges of the apples. (If you make any little tears at the bottom edge of the tart, this is a good time to smooth them together, so none of you liquid leaks out during baking.)
    6. Scatter the little butter bits over the apples and, if desired, you can also sprinkle a little more sugar on the crust.
    7. Bake in a 350° F oven for 45 minutes or so, until the edges of the pastry are starting to brown.


      1. My company invites a food truck each Tuesday – usually nothing appeals to me or I don’t have time, but it was too beautiful today to ignore. I had Mac&Cheese Grilled Cheese w/ Tomato Basil Avocado soup. Delicious and decadent feeling.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. I just finished reading Barbara Ehrenreich’s Dancing in the Streets: a history of collective joy. She looks at the evolution of group celebrating – and carousing – from ancient times, to the Dionysian era and beyond: its being repressed by first the church, evolving into Carnival in Europe… then eventually suppressed by governments and the industrial revolution. About all we’ve got left of what used to be a fairly large part of many cultures, is the Superbowl and Mardi Gras type celebrations. I sometimes wonder if there were more culturally sanctioned ways to celebrate, we might not have as much destructive binge drinking, etc.

    Of course, with the larger populations in cities and colleges, things can get out of hand. I imagine at Keene State (interesting how similar to Kent..), this has been escalating (between the students and police) for years, and it would be difficult to know who’s to blame. But if someone’s throwing bottles at my head, I certainly want the police to do something.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wonder how unusual I am. I wouldn’t care to dabble in “collective joy.” I’m not comfortable with shared glee. My identity as a pheasant hunting writer was based on my rejection of the tradition of the group hunt. My books and articles celebrated solo hunts (with a dog, so not solo in that sense). Hunting in gangs never made any more sense to me than sex in gangs, and that has never appealed to me at all.


  11. By the time I was a professor at Luther College, naked soccer on the library lawn the week the seniors were hanging around waiting for graduation was a tradition of several year’s duration, not to mention notoriety.

    Volunteer faculty and staff served pancakes, IIRC. Myself, I had other fish to fry and didn’t sign up for that one.

    I did however have some of “my” students ask me what I thought of it and should they participate or not. I’ve worked in both healthcare and theatre, so really, nudity is a non-subject as far as I am concerned, but they asked, so I gave them the best I had in those pre-parent days.

    I told them to consider what their answer would be if asked about their participation (or not) in a job interview.

    I don’t recall what any of them ended up doing.

    By 2005 it was outlawed to the tune of a $250 fine and expulsion from the dorm and a year’s disciplinary probation.

    I see it also now costs $5 to get into the restricted area where the Madison Halloween Party is allowed.

    I don’t blame the authorities, I blame the idiots who turn a bit of harmless craziness into real trouble, which is how the authorities get involved in the first place.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Mankato has major problems weekend nights and some week nights with drunken crowds. Several bars are grouped downtown,many of them off a park plaza by the bus stop ans parking ramp. There have been several incidents there. The police are afraid of the crowds some nights. The most famous was the ex-gopher/Rutgers QB who was very drunk and got mixed up in an incident with an exMSU player with whom he had crossed paths in the rivalry between the two HS here. The QB faces major charges for kicking in the head of the other man when he was down on the ground. The man who got kicked has only now been sent home but will be limited for life from the damage.
    A couple weeks ago a soldier on leave was drunk, .18 %, and gave a cop a wet willy. If like me you don’t know what that is, you wet both index fingers in your mouth and come up behind the person and stick the fingers in his ears. The man is being charged with several things, including assault with bodily fluids. It will be plea bargained. I wonder if the soldier will still be a soldier. Apparently drunks roam the bars doing this to strangers.


  13. “A little rebellion is a good thing every now and then.” Jefferson. But I think Sean Connery quotes it in some movie. Hunt for Red October? I hear his voice saying it.
    Love the Pumpkin Spice Girl. DC is so quick and clever with words.


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