By J.B. Lester
There is nothing more iconic than a Jack-O-Lantern on Halloween. The carving event with the little ones watching and waiting in anticipation as the lid slowly comes off the pumpkin and “SCREAM”, the witch comes flying out. Or at least that was the tradition at our house growing up and so it was for my kids, too. A frightful beginning to a traditionally scary, yet fun-loving All Hallows Eve.
History tell us that pumpkins were not the first items carved for Halloween. A few hundred years ago in Ireland and Scotland, they hollowed-out turnips and put hot embers or candles inside on All Hallows Eve (Halloween). These lighted pumpkins with scary carved faces (Jack-O-Lanterns) were used both to ward off bad spirits and to help torch the way of those roaming about on Halloween night. Irish immigrants to the U.S. brought this tradition with them and instead of turnips, they hollowed out pumpkins which were much more plentiful in the New World. The wearing of costumes seems to have come from American farmers and their children celebrating the harvest sometime after the American Revolution. This fall holiday called Autumn Play Party eventually merged with the more religious holiday of All Hallows Eve, All Saints Day and All Souls Day and became a more community-oriented and less religious holiday known as Halloween. Trick or treating is based on the idea that if you offer someone a treat, they will not play a trick on you. We are not sure how that morphed into kids telling knock-knock jokes for candy bars. But I suppose the candy companies had something to do with it, so the trick is on all of us.
Literally hundreds of thousands of pumpkins are harvested and sold each year around Halloween. Landfills become inundated with spent Jack-O-Lanterns and rotted pumpkins. What else can we do with our old pumpkins? Here are a few ideas according to pumpkinpatchesandmore.org.
By Terry Winkelmann
The first ever Go Local Indie Business Showcase will be held Sunday, October 11th, from noon to 4 p.m., at The Corner Gates, 1821 Cherokee St., across from the St Louis Swap Meet.
The Showcase will demonstrate what independently owned and operated businesses in St. Louis have to offer—who has what, who is local that maybe you didn’t know was local, what a new-to-you business has to offer, where you can find what you need AND support your own!
On October 11th, we’ll showcase the variety and richness of businesses owned and operated by our neighbors, residents of our own community. Independent businesses may not have the marketing budgets of multinationals, or the reach of Amazon, Walmart or Office Max, but they often have access to the same goods, as well as items you won’t find on the big box shelves, and usually better service, too!
Enjoy live music, food & drink available for purchase, and a visit to the popular St. Louis Swap Meet, held across the street in the Lemp parking lot, which runs from 8:30 to 3:00 p.m. on Sundays.
Local is hot! More and more Americans are realizing the benefits of shopping locally:
Each dollar spent at an independent business returns 3 times more money to the local economy than one spent at a chain (hundreds of times more than buying from an online mega-retailer) — a benefit we all can bank on.
“A soul’s journey filled with wonder and grace and an abundance of groove.” This description of Mark Holland given by didgeridoo master, Ash Dargan, sums up Holland’s 20 year journey with the Native American Flute.
A celebration of 20 years of the music of Autumn’s Child will take place October 27 at The Sheldon Concert Hall at 7:30pm with a CD release party and concert with Mark Holland & Autumn’s Child. The new CD, Anything’s Possible is the 21st album released by Holland on his Cedar n Sage Music label, not including Autumn’s Child 1997 debut, A New Awakening and Planting The Seed, recorded on the Gemini Sun label. His most recent cd, Flute Flight, a collaboration with Sherry Finzer is currently #11 on the ZMR New Age charts.
Holland began playing the Native American Flute in late 1994 and started Autumn’s Child on the second Sunday in October in 1995. Often described as “Global Chamber Music”, Autumn’s Child lends a contemporary flourish to their kaleidoscope of multicultural influences. Boasting melodic infusions of folk, jazz, Eastern and classical stylings, Holland’s ensemble creates eclectic soundscapes of vivid complexity. One of the most innovative and multifaceted bands on the world music stage, their success and unique beauty are owed to the masterful artistry of the people involved.
The inspiration for the band’s title came to Holland from Captain Beefheart’s song of the same name, as well as Holland’s personal connection to the autumn as his most creative season; the colors and texture of late October reminiscent of the colors and texture in his music.
Everyone seems to have a bucket list these days. Especially those of us over 60. I suppose as we approach our retirement years, we tend to think of our bucket list a bit more than we would at 25. But if a bucket list is truly a catalog of things you want to do before you die, then I guess anyone at any age can have one, because you never know… Two years ago the biggest thing on my bucket list came to pass. I was blessed with my grandson Jackson. Then just a few months later, I caught a foul ball off the bat of Jon Jay at a Cardinal Baseball game. Things were really looking up. I was marching down my bucket list throwing confetti into the air. Then I went in for a routine physical last year and found out I had prostate cancer. Ironically, we always had a saying in our family. No matter how bad things got we could always say to each other, “Well, at least you don’t have cancer.” Funny thing about testing fate, sometimes you get what you didn’t ask for. After a nuclear medical procedure, I have added another item to my bucket list, to be cancer free. That will be determined in November when I go to have my PSA checked again. Hey, guys, if you have not had your prostate checked, do it now. Prostate cancer caught early like mine, has an incredibly high cure rate. Ask your doctor about it, especially if you are over 50 years of age or even younger if you have a family history of prostate cancer. Take control of your health. Get checked right away!
You can have a conscience as green as the sky is blue, but it’s still hard to sort out what’s real and what’s “greenwashing.” Some terms are vague and some evidence is fuzzy. Let’s look at different ways mattresses are described, so you can sort out what’s real and what’s just a pale shade of green.
A green mattress
Sounds good, right? If it is backed up by standards, company reputation and reliable certifications that indicate a manufacturer has credible reasons to say a product is “green”—that is good. But if references to a “green mattress” are just tossed in among a lot of earth-loving jargon without real evidence, sketch this one with a light green crayon.
A flame-retardant-free mattress
Now we’re getting somewhere. One of the most polluting materials used in conventional mattresses—whether they’re memory foam, gel-topped, or include any synthetic foams or fabrics—are chemical flame retardants. These nasty compounds are mixed into foam formulas and fabric coatings. And they’re toxic, carcinogenic, and damage DNA. They have even been found in Arctic wildlife. If a mattress uses an alternate form of flame retardancy, such as wool batting, that’s a very good sign.
A renewable mattress—with renewable materials
How can a mattress be “renewable?” Replaceable components mean that rather than discarding a mattress if your body’s needs change, you can adjust or change its comfort for years after purchase. Sustainable, durable mattress designs keep more “dead mattresses” out of landfills, where they consume a huge amount of space, leach toxins into groundwater, and take decades to break down. Likewise, mattress materials can be renewable, too—certified organic cotton, certified organic wool, and natural rubber (latex) foam all come from plants or animals, not plastic factories.
A low-VOC mattress
Off-gassing isn’t just about detectable odors—any product will continually degrade over time, and whatever chemicals are in it will gradually escape into indoor air and even the outdoor environment. If a manufacturer claims there are “no VOCs” or “low VOCs” (volatile organic compounds) in their safe mattress, they should offer a reputable certificate such as GreenGuard as proof of emissions testing.