Following the excruciatingly hot experience we who live in the Ozarks lived through this past summer, I haven’t heard anyone complaining about how the season’s first relative cold snap that recently settled in.

But while the first frost has now coated windshields and graced the tips of the native Indian grass growing in the valleys of south-central Missouri, and things are a bit on the cool side for the time being, that’s not always the case in October. Some interesting data from the Weather Underground website regarding the date on the pages of this newspaper – Oct. 11:

• Last year the high temperature was in this area was 77.

• The record high for the date in West Plains is 93 (1963), and the record low is 29 (a year later in 1964).

For October in general:

• The record high in West Plains is 94 (from Oct. 2, 1953).

• The record low is 19 (from Oct. 29, 1952).

Doug Davison

That means the temperature on a given October day in the Ozarks could fall anywhere within a range of more than 70 degrees. And it’s not at all uncommon to see a variation of a good 40 degrees on a single day.

Here in the Jillikins, you just never know with October. But while some high temps lately have been a good 50 degrees lower than they were only a couple of short months ago, don’t look now – it won’t be long before the lows are another 50 down the scale.

Frisky business

The cool-down of the air seems to have caused a warm-up in some animals in and around my remote Texas County outpost.

Calves in the surrounding pastures can frequently be seen running and prancing around, birds appear to be on the extra-active list, and our horses seem to move from place to place with some giddy-up, as opposed to their ultra-conservative motion during the blazing summer.

But the best show my wife and I have seen put on by an autumn-loving animal took place last weekend when our donkey Abe went berserk for a while. The incident took place in the corral area adjacent to our house, where the John was hanging out with his three larger equine brethren, with Shawn and Bennie on one side of the round pen and Sur on the other side.

I’m not sure what sparked the display, but all of a sudden Abe was running back and forth between where the pair and single horse stood, bucking and jumping when he reached each end of the line. As they observed what their little mascot was up to, the horses’ ears perked up and they all looked highly alert and surprised.

Each time the donkey-gone-wild approached his end of the track, General Sur flipped his head around and carried on with obvious disapproval. Each time the bucking burro came near the other end of the line, Shawn would bounce around as if to say, “wow, cool – you go little man!”

Finally, Abe did a drop and roll in his favorite dirt bath spot near the middle of the corral, and the Arabians Sur and Shawn ran to his side. Shawn was still like, “this is great!” But I’m pretty sure the crusty old general was irritated.

“Stop this right now soldier! This behavior will not be tolerated in this unit!”

Abe got up and went back to being his normal self. Which is still silly.

Must be about time for an election

It’s a big election year, and we’re in the meat of the season when all the accompanying sights and sounds – and smells – are at their peak.

There’s no other time like it, really. We get to experience so many things that are out of the ordinary.

Like a subject having two truths. It’s amazing how opposing sides both can “assure” you they have the real facts behind an issue.

Like trying to process wild claims and accusations that are impossible for the average person to verify or substantiate. It’s weird the way nasty mud-slinging is accepted as standard procedure during these periods. You can say almost anything about an opponent and it’s just viewed as part of the deal.

Like being expected to overlook oodles of contradictions. Some politicians must figure we all have extremely short memories, because I often find myself thinking, “wait, weren’t you the one who did that?” But then, I think they’re right for the most part; at least that would appear to be the case, based on Americans’ voting record.

And like hearing explanations and justifications that leave the listener (if he’s me, anyway) caught in a swirling vortex of double-talk and deceit, and basically going, “huh?”

Ah, yes – the politics of American politics. Few rules, fewer guidelines, and zero logic.

What could be sillier.

Doug Davison is a writer, photographer and newsroom assistant for the Houston Herald. Email: