October 18, 2021

By Arthur H. Gunther III

About this time of year comes the memory of the apple smell, sweet fragrance that for me opened the door a bit to Heaven when I was a child at my grandmother’s house. She made apple pies, as many nanas did and do, from scratch.

 My grandfather would peel the apples, quite slowly and deftly, within a few millimeters of the skin so as not to waste anything. I never have had the patience for that, my own pared apples probably about two-thirds of the original product. My gramps sat on an upturned apple crate to do the job, outside, of course. And that is where the apple fragrance came from.

Making an apple pie brings its own wonderful, delicious smells, especially when the spices are added to the mix and, of course, when the pie is baking. And when that pie just seems to sit forever on the windowsill awaiting our tasting.

Perhaps the real eau d’apple came from the drops, those decaying, over-ripened, never-picked discards from my grandfather’s small tree. The drops always landed near his 1900s garage, its old, wooden floor soaked with the car oil of decades gone by. The garage, particularly when it was warmish, offered its own beckoning smell — of automobiles, wrenches, human labor, all a promise of what was to come for a future motorist, even at age 5.

When I visited my grandparents, a few miles from my own home, the whiff of the garage in fall made me feel extra welcome, not that it was difficult to achieve at that house, at that home. And when I also smelled the drops, all was extra sweet, and my fingers almost crossed that my grandmother was making a pie.

She usually was, and on those days, at that time of year, even without introduction to any of God’s religions, I knew there was a Heaven.

The writer is a retired newspaperman. This essay is adapted from an earlier one.



October 11, 2021

By Arthur H. Gunther III

     There is the unordinary cat, thank heavens.

     Remember kindergarten? Teachers encouraging individuality. Playing games together but drawing separately. Come the next grade and the ones afterward there are desks, increasing structure, necessary standards, all for progress, yes, but much more for the collective than the individual. Society cannot otherwise maintain and advance.

     But in the process, the cats come to look alike, even as some are as round pegs squeezed into square holes. 

     Some cats, like Tom Edison and Nikola Tesla, Steve Jobs and that odd girl or fellow sitting in the back row deliberately do not get aboard. They are not ordinary cats, and the real progress comes from them. Were it not for such individuality, there would be no train, no tracks ahead for the rest of us.

     The writer is a retired newspaperman. 



October 2, 2021

By Arthur H. Gunther III

     The cadence of life is the music we exist by, live by, endure by, thrill by, emote by, give birth by, laugh and cry by, die by. It is to each a unique song. Some sing better, some are almost tone deaf. Some never set the volume right. Others are a full orchestra. Some are simple notes. Others are complex chords.

     Once, a long time ago – time is relative, though, so the moment could be now – a particular rhythm caught my step, and I was on top of the world, four beats then two repeated as the riff for the full melody. Plans and worries did not exist in the young world – the future would play out; somehow matters would fall in place. For now, for then, it was the music of romance.

     Little things gave sustenance – a car ride; the goose bumps of just talking and listening when there seemed to be sync between two; she borrowed your jacket in the cold; moments of silence that were not uneasy but rather proof that two could chill, could let the 4/2 riff continue before the next conversation.

     In time, the music changed, at least the tune. It never died, but other scores were written elsewhere, with new songwriters.

     As with any mix of notes, melodies, the mind can replay a certain tune from a certain time, especially when the special riff pops into your head.

     The writer is a retired newspaperman.