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An ode to October 2012

The poetry of changing weather and political seasons

The sun angled down

That October way

And cries filled the air:

“It’s the final nice day!”

The season was autumn

A Thursday so bright

It felt like the summer

So sweet was the light.

“The final nice day!”

Came the blubber and sigh,

“We won’t see such weather

‘Til bleepin’ July.”

Some pundits and others

Stayed fuming indoors

Inventing their theories

And scratching their sores.

“Election Day’s coming!”

They snarled with a shout

“No time for a walk

No, no time to go out!

“No time for the sunshine!

No time for the breeze!

No time for the flutter

Of bright autumn trees!”

They punched at their keyboards

And sharpened their snark

To see who could make

The most cutting remark.

Meanwhile, on Thursday ...

The parents with strollers

Commuters on bikes

The kids on their scooters

The kids on their trikes

Were soaking up warmth

They were kicking up leaves

Like men on death row

With the hope of reprieves.

“The snow is a’coming!”

Old Tom Skilling said,

“Get ready for Tuesday!”

We shivered with dread.

But in this last moment

This last day of nice

When leaves paved the streets —

So much nicer than ice —

Folks went to the parks

And we went out on strolls

No time to spend fretting

O’er pols and their polls.

We’d think of Obama

And Romney real soon

And Ryan and Biden

And Trump, the big loon.

We’d think of Trump whining,

“I’ll tell you what sucks,

I still got no clout

Despite zillions of bucks.”

We’d talk of the turnout,

The margins, the lies

But here was our mellow

October surprise:

The doors were still open

The windows were, too

The AC was whirring

The garden still grew.

“The final nice day!”

Huffed the runners (no shirts!)

And in the soft breeze

Women clung to their skirts.

No day to be grousing

That politics stink

Or worry the nation

Was ready to sink.

One day very soon

We could quiver in fear

That Romney and Biden

Would rule us next year

Or fret for the future

(Things real and absurd)

And argue the wishes

Of God and Big Bird.

But not when the ginkgos

Still glittered like gold

No, not till the weather

Turned bitter and cold.

In other words, Friday.

“There’s thunderstorms coming,”

Old Tom Skilling said,

“The temps will soon drop

And your garden’s soon dead.”

‘Twas nice while it lasted

The final nice day

But here’s one last thing

That my mother would say:

No matter the weather

Or winner we know:

That every day’s nice

If you say that it’s so.


Mary Schmich is a columnist for the Chicago Tribune who can be contacted at

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