ARTICLE

Living to enjoy the crisp, fall days

Live for the moment, they say.


Over the past year or so, I?ve made a conscious effort to try to stay in the present. The effort has been met with moderate success. It is difficult to stay in the present when your vocation requires considerable planning. There?s an old saying that sums it up quite well ? Failing to plan is planning to fail.


Even without the job excuse, it is difficult to stay in the present. We are reminded by television commercials to plan for the future, plan for retirement and remember past events because they shape the future.


Fall is a good season to live for the present. If I could earnestly live for the present and not think about the future, that being winter, fall would be my favorite season, nudging out spring.


One of many reasons I enjoy fall are the moderating temperatures. You can?t beat that refreshing, crisp air after a hot, humid summer. Another reason for my enjoyment of fall is the smell of burning leaves. I know that may not be a popular statement and is not meant to be an endorsement of open burning. I realize that burning leaves causes respiratory problems for many with health concerns.


That refreshing, crisp air makes it all the better to enjoy the fall colors. The scenery while driving along the Mississippi River during late September and early October is priceless.


In another life, I had season tickets to University of Iowa football games. I enjoyed walking through the campus on a fall day nearly as much as the game. But it doesn?t have to be an Iowa game, any college football game on a Saturday afternoon during the fall can be beautiful.


This year?s winter forecast also makes fall that much more appealing (spring, too, for that matter). I don?t want to ruin your day, but Accuweather?s winter forecast for the northern Great Plains is calling for temperatures from six to nine degrees colder than last year and more snow.


The forecast could be viewed as a ?glass half-full? scenario because last winter was about as mild as we?ve had in over a decade. And you know we weren?t going to get two consecutive mild winters.


Fall also means baseball?s World Series.


This year, the World Series could be special. I have exerted considerable restraint thus far in talking about the Chicago Cubs. I have done that for several reasons, but every time I do mention the Cubs in a column, it reminds me of a person in Washington, who accused me of writing about the Cubs when I didn?t have another column topic.


He was partially (notice, I said partially) correct, but I wasn?t going to give him the satisfaction of knowing it. Truth be told, this person was not a Cardinal fan. I don?t think it was so much that he disliked the Cubs but sports in general.


There seems to be a lot more Cubbie blue being displayed this year, that?s what winning will do. A few months ago, Bruce Hudson, executive director of the Regional Utility Service Systems (RUSS), was wearing a Cubs? windbreaker to a RUSS board meeting. I made mention of it, which was met with a curt reply from Hudson relating he was not a bandwagon fan.


Neither am I, a half century of following the Cubs is the only pedigree I need. One of my junior high instructors got me hooked on the Cubs. Back then, Major League baseball and television weren?t a marriage made through greenbacks. However, many of the Cubs? games found their way to a television set near you.


Later in life, at least one trip to Wrigley Field became an annual event. The Cubs weren?t exactly setting the world on fire then, but fans came in droves ? not necessarily to watch baseball, but to party. That led to the coining of the term ?loveable losers? to describe the team.


The Cubs? unfinished business begins tomorrow with the National League Championship Series, or NLCS. You don?t need a long memory to remember recent history.


So, what happens if the Cubs do make it to their first World Series since 1945 or better yet, win it, breaking 108 years of futility? An interesting side note is that 6,110 fans were at the 1908 game in which the Cubs won the Series.


I?ve often pondered that question. At the beginning of the season, I thought making the World Series would be enough but am now reasonably sure if the Cubs advance that far, nothing short of victory would be satisfactory. I?ll take my chances on the loveable losers suddenly becoming loveable winners over the next couple of weeks.