Halloween, with all its witches and hollow-weenied goblins, came and went. The Island was full of party-going revelers, costume contests and ghost tours. It was not an uncommon site to see lantern-holding groups of folks gathered in cemeteries and in the dark alleys of downtown, all looking for some evidence of the “other side.” Halloween has become an $8 billion industry in the United States and, from the looks of things, the celebration will grow larger each year. The Galveston clubs were filled with all sorts of costumed partiers and those wishing to celebrate the holiday of all holidays in the LGBTQ community.
Now November arrives and is most welcomed. Though we don’t live in a four-seasoned climate, where fall and November are applauded and celebrated, upper Gulf Coast-ians do enjoy the occasional spurts of cooler temperatures and reasons to don a sweater or light jacket. So far we have seen about four nonconsecutive days of fall.
“Dull November brings the blast, then the leaves are whirling fast.” –Sara Coleridge
In some cases and places, that may be true. However, not so much for those of us living along the Gulf Coast. November is a rather lackluster month that sort of creeps up on the world. Named for its Latin origin, Novem, meaning nine, the original Roman calendar had only 10 months and November, of course, was the ninth. The early pagans referred to the month as the “Snow Moon” and many Native American tribes called November the “Moon of Falling Leaves.”
We don’t get many showers of red and gold leaves like some places, but still a nice glass of wine with “Autumn Leaves” being sung by Edith Piaf can certainly take one to romantic and faraway places filled with romance and tender kisses by a crackling fire. Ah! To dream.
The month of November is filled with all sorts of designated days honoring this or that. In fact, most sources list 105 actual “special days” in the month. There is of course All Saints’ Day, Sadie Hawkins, Guy Fawkes, National Cook for Your Pets Day, and list goes on and on all the way up to the mother lode, Thanksgiving Day. November is also designated as National Care for Someone Month.
Then there are elections, sometimes national (the last one was Depression Day) and local. Leading to November elections are debates, mud-slinging commercials, and large amounts of collected monies being wasted on career politicians — but that is another column! Suffice to say that although November is a rather “dull” month, there are a lot of things going on.
On the Island, groups are readily preparing for Christmas and, of course, Mardi Gras. Krewes are fast at work designing and creating floats, planning balls and ordering beads. Fundraisers of all sorts are popping up all over Galvetraz. and special shows and performances are filling the calendars at Robert’s Lafitte, 23rd Street Station Piano Bar, and Rumors Beach Bar. The coming Christmas drag shows are usually the best as a lot of old school music comes out and “Santa Baby” is performed in just about every way possible!
The biggest celebration in November is, of course, Thanksgiving or “Turkey Day” as it has been called. One of the greatest demonstrations of coming together (yes, even with Republicans), is the Thanksgiving pot-lucks and dinners that all the bars have. It is amazing to see all the dishes, made with love, that are piled onto portable tables and even pool tables with a temporary plywood top, that fill the clubs. LGBTQ people love to cook and they love to share their “vittles” with all.
Even if you have a full dinner at home with friends and family, a swirl through the food-filled clubs is always a treat. I mean, where else other than a gay bar can you find Shrimp Jell-O?
So we don’t get chilly evenings by a fire, autumn-painted leaves swirling on brisk breezes. and Jack Frost. But we do get a chance in November to celebrate many things.
Most importantly on the Island, we celebrate each other and community. United, we are strong! Whatever you do this November, do it well and with a spirit of love and thankfulness.