The first rain. It was heavenly last week waking to the sound of rain, clearing out the thick brown air. The ceiling leaked downstairs but not as badly as it did last year. That’s progress and a price I’m willing to pay for a cleansing rain.

Not that it hasn’t felt like fall but the first rain is Act 2. The sycamore and liquidambar trees will now shed their leaves in mass. The pomegranates are finished and those left on the tree can start to mold.

***

It seems like a perfectly timed introduction for Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving and the Pie Run at Hart Park, which starts at 6 a.m. Thursday and is an excellent way to welcome the day.

What would Thanksgiving be without the Pie Run?. Well, we would be able to sleep in, not have to follow the parade of headlights on Alfred Harrell Highway before the sun comes up. We wouldn’t have to bundle up. There are a lot of good things about not doing the Pie Run, the celebration started more than 30 years ago by the late John Rous along with Jim Cowles and company.

The good outweighs the early. There are no entry fees, only a pie, fresh baked cookies, tarts, cakes, biscuits, brownies or a breakfast casserole. You lay the food on the picnic tables, wait until Jim or David, John’s son, gives a short introduction from the back of a pickup and then you start running, walking or whatever your pleasure is under the red and gold canopy of leaves from the old trees in Hart Park. When you return, there will be a hot fire, coffee, juice, good things to nibble on and several hundred friendly souls.

***

Pat Gracey from Tehachapi writes in regards to the column about hooking up the new printer.

“Got a new printer, eh?

“I was printing a chapter of a book a friend is writing. I am proof-reading it. Only 27 pages. My printer said it was not going to print anything else after doing the chapter. I gave it new ink and everything.

“Well, that made me mad so I hit it hard on its top lid.

"'Damn' it said, 'She hit me!'

“It printed again. I hated to do it as it's been a wonderful printer. Now, when it refuses to print, a tap on its top lid solves the problem.”

***

Great obit by the Associated Press on French cyclist Raymond Poulidor who died recently. Poulidor was known as the eternal runner-up, his “repeated failure to win the Tour de France helped him conquer French hearts and become the country’s favorite cyclist.”

Most of us can relate. Runner-up, we tried, we worked hard, we almost got there and we fell short.

“Poulidor took part in 14 tours from 1962 to 1976. He finished second three times and was third five times,” the article stated.

“A lovable and down-to-earth competitor, he kept the same warmth and approachable manner after his career ended, always up for a chat with his admirers and ready to sign autographs or pose for pictures.”

Winning is great and God knows I’d like to do more of it, but how you carry yourself is important too.

***

Debra Vergara writes about the column on the difference between using “good” and “well.”

“I just read your article about being corrected for using 'good' instead of 'well.' If we're going to split hairs, the sentence should have said 'talk loudly' instead of 'talk loud.' A lot of 'incorrect' word usages have crept into our daily conversations, and for the most part, I think they sound more natural and have become 'correct' through the natural evolution of the spoken language. (Although I still can't accept 'conversate' as an actual word, no matter how many times I hear it spoken. But that's a rant for another day.)

***

The musical recommendation of the week is Benjamin Scheuer and his song “Weather the Storm:”

“It's the help that we give

“It's the love that we live

“It's our pride in the friendships we form

“It's the courage we show facing things we don't know

“It's the way that we weather the storm.”

Herb Benham is a columnist for the Bakersfield Californian and can be reached at hbenham@bakersfield.com or (661) 395-7279.

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