Friday, October 12, 2012


There is no question about it.  Autumn has arrived.  Tree leaves are either changing color or dropping to the ground or both.  The temperature has nose-dived.  Here in Prescott Valley at 11:15 on this Friday morning the temperature outside is 53 degrees Fahrenheit.  There are water puddles on the ground from an overnight rain.  A friend who lives in Flagstaff, which is a couple of thousand feet higher than here, says she turned on her furnace for the first time last night.  And a mountain near her has snow on it for the first time this year.

I love cold, rainy days if I can stay inside.  When I was a teenager in North Dakota, I had a tiny room with a steam radiator, an old armchair by a window that looked out on the outside world, books and my short wave radio.  I would tune the bands and listen to stations from London, from Moscow, from Quito, Ecuador, and, of course, the Voice of America.  I escaped that cold rainy (or more likely, snowy) world outside.

Some years later, a ham radio operator in New Mexico told me he used to like to turn off the lights in his room, lean back in his comfortable recliner and listen to tunes from Radio Tahiti.  It helped him wipe out the stresses from his job.

Nowadays I no longer have a short wave radio but I've got something even better - the Internet.  There are thousands of radio stations I can connect with and listen to their programming as if it were a local station.  No fading, no static.  Of course, that kind of takes some of the romance out of it but I still like it better than the old "analog" days.

And there are Internet radio sources.  One of my favorites is Pandora.  Right now I have it on and am listening to some soft jazz on French Cafe Radio.  I also have Brazilian Radio, the Hot Club of San Francisco, the Turtle Island String Quartet, and Le Surdoue on my favorites list.  One can search by artist, genre or composer to find just the type of music you like.  As you can probably tell, I favor soft sounds at home  When I'm in my car the radio is usually tuned to NPR although sometimes I tune in a Classic Rock station.

Radio has always been a big part of my life.  It began with a big floor model Philco in our living room on which I listened to the Lone Ranger, Fibber McGee and Molly, the Great Gildersleeve and Amos and Andy.  Then I moved on to my short wave period.  Then I became a ham radio operator.  Later I went to work at several radio stations, work that finally took me away from North Dakota to Indianapolis.  I had also worked for some television stations in North Dakota and that experience helped me land a t.v. job in Phoenix.  Almost 20 years later I found myself out of work and a couple of years from Social Security.  I landed a job with a radio station in Prescott and spent three years there.

Oh, I should include our period in the late 80's/early 90's when we took an early retirement and moved to Mexico.  My ham radio "rig" kept us in touch with family and friends back in the United States.

Well.  This has covered a lot of territory since I began writing about autumn.  I've been meaning to take some pictures of the pumpkins everywhere, of the fall flower displays at stores, and probably some of my  immediate surroundings.  But today, I'm just going to stay inside where it's warm, listening to Louis Armstrong singing and playing "A Kiss to Build a Dream On" on Pandora.