Ah, Fall, the greatest of seasons. I completely embrace that unbridled, yet never realized, Rockwellian ideal of Autumn. Pumpkin everything until you want to spit the seeds at a nun.
But when it begins … you kiss your kiddies goodbye as they climb the steps of the bus, you ceremoniously high-five your spouse and venture out into the adult world of pumpkin lattes and solo shopping.
There’s a whole feel to Fall. Here in the east, it’s all pumpkin patches and candied apples. Orchards and Fall festivals. Hayrides and corn mazes. That cable sweater that makes you feel like a Kennedy as you comb the beach in search of the perfect shell, hoping to hell you don’t run into Snookie. Or maybe it’s that tweed jacket you pull out of the closet once a year as you give mock English lectures to the full-size mirror while your husband spies on you.
For me, it’s time for Woody. Allen, that is.
I associate Woody Allen with Fall more than any other time of year. It’s a New York thing. Sipping hot chocolate on a stroll through Strawberry Fields as Bellevue escapees dressed in Beatles mop top regalia warble a weak rendition of “Love Me Do,” the crisp autumnal air, the smell of roasted nuts and dried urine.
It’s that whole “Hannah and Her Sisters” thing. The Thanksgiving Holiday that eludes me: a pre-war apartment on the Upper West side, heady kitchen discussions while Mom and Dad sit at the piano crooning Gershwin tunes as the next generation is lulled into a mind meld with mulled wine. Yes, they quarreled and the Michael Cane character was shtooping his wife’s sister, but hey … a little family upheaval is to be expected, right?
This time of year makes me yearn for a little Woody. Even though I’ve yet to encounter Woody in Manhattan, I’ve looked for Woody on both the Upper East and West sides and come up empty. I mean, Woody has to be somewhere. Is he hiding, afraid to come out? Is Woody tired of being recognized? Would Woody prefer to stay inside? Why won’t Woody just pop out for a bit, surprise me and say hello?
Woody is elusive.
Still, I shall look forward to spending Sunday afternoons at the museum, walks through Central Park, the sound of jazz from a distant street corner, the zillionth viewing of “Zelig.”
Maybe there is a little Norman Rockwell in my life after all.
If I’m lucky, there’ll be a little Woody too.