October has become my favorite month, replacing its calendar and seasonal opposite April. Maybe as I get older I feel more connected to a month that symbolizes the yield of a year's worth of work, or the accomplishments of a lifetime. Spring is a time for anticipation and new beginnings. But autumn is a season to appreciate growth and maturity, and to reflect on the blessings we've received but might have been too busy in the spring and summer to recognize.
Also, October marks my return to the kitchen after half a year cooking outdoors. I love my time in the kitchen, especially thinking about and preparing for the upcoming holiday feasts. Even though Thanksgiving is more than a month away, I need the time. My family chides me for doing things the hard way, such as making my own soup stock when it is available on grocery stores shelves for less than a dollar a can. But they will admit the more time I spend in the kitchen the saner I remain; and as one kitchen celebrity says, 'That's a good thing.'
There is at least one other person who likes to do things the old-fashioned way. His story is on Page 10 of this month's CAPPER'S. Michel Guyot is recreating a 13th-century castle in France, but he is building it using only medieval tools - hammers and chisels to cut and carve stones, horse-drawn carts to move the rocks. He's been at it for 10 years, but tourists shell out $2 million a year to watch. Would that my culinary efforts could attract that sort of attention.Speaking of lifetime accomplishments, an award acknowledging the contributions of Americans older than 60 was instituted recently by Civic Ventures, a think-tank in San Francisco. You can read about some of the winners, on Page 2, and what they did to earn the plaudits and prove that '60 is the new 40.'
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