A Day to Outlive

T.S. Eliot wrote that April is the cruelest month. That may be so to certain perspectives, but I find that October is one of the most uncertain and eventful months. For one thing, here in Texas there is a saying that if you don’t like the weather wait 15 minutes and it will change. That adage is truer in October that it is in any other month.

Putting aside the weather, there been a number of momentous events in history that occurred in October. The battle of Hastings on October 14, 1066 in which the present Queen Elizabeth II’s distant ancestor William of Normandy conquered England and established his line of succession which is unbroken to this day.

Fast-forward to the United States in 1962, 50 years ago to the week of this writing, the United States and the Soviet Union faced off in what has become to be known as the Cuban Missile Crisis. Many have opined that this is the closest the world has ever come to wholesale nuclear war. Some dispute this, and I reserve judgment. It was nevertheless a significant turning point in the Cold War. An ironic note: of the three major participants, President John F. Kennedy, Soviet president (or whatever his title was ) Nikita Khrushchev, and Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, Kennedy was assassinated little more than a year later, Khrushchev was deposed in 1964 and died in 1977. Castro remains alive and in actual, if not formal, power (although his current state of health is a matter of mystery and speculation). On an even more ironic note, Sergei Khrushchev, Nikita’s son is now a U.S. citizen, and lives in Rhode Island.

Tomorrow is the 131st anniversary of the Gunfight at the OK Corral in Tombstone, Arizona. As insignificant as this event probably was, it made Wyatt Earp a legend of the old West, and spawned no fewer than five motion pictures. Made millions for Hollywood.

And of course, today October 25 is St. Crispin’s Day. I, of course, had to write this to acknowledge this blog’s patron. King Henry V of England led his troops to victory on this day at Agincourt in northern France. The battle and leadership Henry displayed was immortalized in Shakespeare’s play of that name, which is a source of a number of well-known adages, including the blog’s title.

As for current events, this month leads up to a Presidential election, which many commentators are calling one of the most important in our history. To my mind, that is a bit of hubris on the part of pundits (isn’t it amazing how many foreign words become commonplace in our language). The historical importance of elections is not determined until they become, in fact, historical. There is little question that it will be close. On New Year’s Day of this year I predicted that it would be, and I have no reason to change my mind.

As for the weather, today was warm and windy, but is at this writing becoming cool and windy, and tonight according to Texas standards anyway it will be almost cold.

But it is one more day that I’ve outlived, and I plan, shortly, to go home – I hope my journey of about one mile to be safe.

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