By Ken DeLaat
Did you hear it?
The collective sigh signifying the end of our denial about what is to come?
Or was it more of a groan?
After being lulled into complacency by a spate of fairly warm (if unceasingly wet) weather this fall November arrives and its early snow and cold is greeted by many with all the enthusiasm a restaurant staff might give a customer who pops into their eatery just before closing on a slow weekday night and wants to start with an appetizer.
Oh, and he has his kids with him.
November is not in any way the cruelest month. In his epic “The Waste Land” T.S. Eliot said it was April but his metaphorical journey decribed the relative malaise of his generation rather than the weather and to us there exists no month in the Mitten possessing more pitilessness than February, though its predecessor certainly makes a case for the top spot.
But nonetheless November can be a tad annoying weatherwise.
Oh, I've witnessed brilliant November days when the sun brings a softness to the crisp air and you revel in the relative warmth during a short span that feels almost like a second summer.
But not a lot of them.
And I’ve been around quite a few Novembers.
Of course beyond the seemingly instantaneous shift in weather providing previews of the months of meteorological madness yet to come there are other factors that might make November more appealing to you.
If you like football November generally finds the Lions on the outside looking in when it comes to an invitation to the playoff party and this year is no exception as prognosticators currently give them a 6% chance of making the postseason.
And we think they’re just being kind.
But they are, after all, our beloved Lions and will win some, lose some and miss the playoffs.
At least we have the Pistons and…(Pardon? Really? Mediocre again huh?)... I mean the Red Wings who…(What’s that? Wow. That bad eh?) or maybe if we wait til Spring there’s...uh...there’s…
Of course we also have the MSU/Michigan matchup a game when afterwards about half of bi-peninsular football followers will be happy at the result while the other half will cite the obviously prejudicial officiating if the game is within 20 points.
And later in the month Michigan fans get to see if the Buckeye-induced bleeding (OSU has won 7 in a row and 14 out of 15) can be stopped. One hopes the defense will yield a few less than the 62 the Bucks put on the board last year.
A fair warning, should the inundation of Christmas cheer not be your bag you might want to avoid the Hallmark channels in month 11 since they are knee deep into Christmas 24/7 and will be rolling them out for the next seven weeks.
However, should you be one of the many who embrace the season with these holiday themed films this is a boon. And one needs never fear about them running out of movies since with the addition of 40 (yes, 40) new ones this year Hallmark is estimated to have over 200 options which is incredible when you think of that many movies with barely a half dozen plot lines.
Of course for some this is the best of all months because The Opener comes mid November, a golden time for hunters and the people they live with and/or like who are fond of venison. You can already feel the fever pitch growing and the local eateries who serve up breakfast will be opening their doors extra early for hunters while one imagines the local bars might be hosting some serious storytelling later on.
Finally, Thanksgiving arrives later on in November followed by Black Friday, Small Biz Saturday, Cyber Monday and my personal favorite, Why Did I Buy So Much Tuesday.
It's the month that straddles the seasons in these parts creating a connection between the best of fall and the early stages of winter. And while for many non hunters the decreasing daylight combined with continuous cloud cover and plunging temps that mark the beginning of the snow-centered siege of a season that will long be with us might prove a bit of a trial…
There’s always the Lions.
“November is usually such a disagreeable month as if the year had suddenly found out she was growing old and could do nothing but weep and fret over it.” -Anne Shirley
Letter to the Editor Policy
Near North Now welcomes original letters from readers on current topics of general interest. Simply fill out the form below. Letters submissions are limited to 300 words.