October is the best time to be in the Lowcountry.
Granted, Oct. 1 will never compete with New Year's Eve or the Fourth of July.
But when you live in the Lowcountry, the arrival of October sets off the grandest celebration of them all.
October is ours.
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Most of the minivans of summer are back in some concrete jungle, now hauling kids to Montessori schools and soccer fields.
The August heat that has us gasping for breath melts into the golden afternoons and brisk mornings of October.
The cold winds of January and the no-see-ums of spring are quickly forgotten when we bathe in October's gentle warmth.
Our visiting birds are hanging out for a few last weeks of glory before resuming their miracle journeys around the globe.
The shrimp are kicking in the creeks, their eyes shining like red lasers in the light of our john boats.
Now is the best time to get the plump crabs that look like blue, green and red folk art as they stupidly cling to a muddy chicken neck and get scooped into our nets. A bowl of she crab soup and a warm roll make October worth the long wait.
Our friends come home from their escapes to places like Flat Rock, Highlands, Saluda or Tryon. I say these are the ones who passed the IQ test. They scurried to the Carolina mountains as soon as the licks of our summer sun got so hot even the Baptist preachers couldn't get anybody scared of hell.
We welcome them with the "snowbirds" floating down from Canada. It's comforting to know that this is as close as we'll get to a snow drift. And a little variety around the Wednesday night dinner table at church never hurt anyone, eh?
They're here in time for the State Fair and Saturdays crammed with college football games that are bigger than life. When Georgia beat Tennessee in 2001, radio announcer Larry Munson blurted into the microphone the perfect definition of October football:
"My God Almighty, did you see what he did? David Greene just straightened up and we snuck the fullback over! We just dumped it over! 26-24! We just stepped on their face with a hobnail boot and broke their nose! We just crushed their face!"
But in our October marsh, things are more peaceful. Snowy egrets gliding into the green Spartina grass that the season is painting gold never seem to care about such pain and suffering.
October also brings weekend festivals to every hamlet.
And it's when we get to see how the other half lives, when our Lowcountry mansions, plantations and gardens are opened to the public. The October tours are fundraisers for good causes, such as the Historic Beaufort Foundation and the Edisto Island Museum.
In the Lowcountry, we don't need the celebratory champagne and fireworks. Just give us October.
Follow columnist David Lauderdale at twitter.com/ThatsLauderdale.