It’s nearly the end of September and I can’t let this strange month in the year of the pandemic slip by without recalling two of my favorite songs, each bringing back so many memories from long ago when times were so different and hope filled the air.
When I was young, September meant returning to school after a long, carefree summer. It was a month filled with dread, anticipation and excitement.
Later, as I entered my adult years, the month became the longed for prelude to October and all the glorious associations with Autumn, that most mellow and wistful time of year. The air started getting cool and bracing and all the signs of the season were everywhere, it seemed. It was a longed for time of year, like Spring, and September was its herald.
This was the way September always was until I moved to the coast of South Carolina in 1995. Then, September became, as it has been this month and every previous September since that year, a somber waiting game as the dreaded peak of hurricane season came and went. The last five years have been particularly stressful because of mandatory evacuations. I always prayed, “Let us get through September.”
But as I write these words on September 25, 2020, the danger period is passing, but not over yet. I’m in my seventh month of self-quarantining during a pandemic that’s going to be with us awhile longer. We’re living through the most tumultuous and divisive political period of my lifetime, and I’ve been around a few years.
When I listen to these two songs, however, I can dream a little dream of more forgiving and mellow September’s in the past “when life was so tender that no one wept except the willow.”
“September Song” Willie Nelson’s version
This was on his unforgettable album, “Stardust,” which I listened to when it first came out in 1980, over and over again. It was one of those near-perfect albums where every song was really good and perfectly blended in with the other songs.
This immortal and wistful song was recorded by many singers, but the version I remember best and listened to in 1965 was by The Brothers Four