Howdy Neighbour!

by maxmosher


And suddenly, it’s autumn.

I woke up this morning freezing. Fortified by three cups of coffee, I attempted to build a fire to bask in and warm up the cottage. How can you resist the smell that lingers on your clothes from a wood-burning stove?

After several tries (“Oh, that’s why you’re supposed to crumple up the newspaper!”) I appear to have succeeded and am currently defrosting my toes in the orange glow.

My family used to spend many an autumn up here, sometimes staying as late as Thanksgiving. I remember falling in piles of leaves, the windy walks and the lake crashing around like the Atlantic. Even as a child, you sensed the feeling of everything winding down; the summer chairs stacked away; the hammock folded up; on the final day, the water being turned off.

There was also less pressure to run around outside (not that there was ever much) and we would cuddle up inside watching That’s Entertainment videos on our little TV.

Had to just tend to my fire. Why is it that buildings can burn down by accident, but starting a fire in an enclosed fireplace is difficult?

My Dad: “We have a copy of Cher’s workout book we can burn. It’s hardcover… How’d it get here?”

Anyways, for the uninitiated, the three That’s Entertainment films consist of clips from classic MGM movies, mostly musical numbers. The first was released in the 1970’s and their appeal is supposedly nostalgic, but as a child, I just loved them. (Insert gay joke here.)

The change of the seasons reminds me of this number from Summerstock (1950). Although her relationship with the studio had turned sour, and they were soon to kick her off the lot, it is appropriate that Judy Garland’s last movie at MGM resurrected the troupe from the beginning of her career of putting on a show “right here in the barn!” There was tension on the set, with Judy’s erratic behaviour and drug use, but none is discernible on screen. “How dare this look like a happy picture!” one of the MGM brass after seeing the rushes.

Mostly remembered for the ‘Get Happy’ number, shot two months after the rest of the film, thus explaining Garland’s obvious weight loss, I have a fondness for this song. Supposedly, Judy got tired filming it one day and asked “Why am I on this tractor? Where’s Vincent, I want to go home?” The eternal questions.

I hum it when we drive past farms in the country or when I’m taking a walk amongst the fire-coloured leaves.