But I miss you most of all, my darling, when autumn leaves start to fall. The only problem is the leaves that are falling are crumpled up and brown instead of red, orange and yellow and big enough to make a pile that you can run and jump into. The reason, according to forecasters, is the lack of rain this season.

I, however, did enjoy the warm, sunny, Sunday afternoon when I had the chance to sit down and read the front section of The New York Times, which doesn’t always happen. Maybe because my readings are few and far between, my joy turned to dismay as I was taken aback by what is going on in the world. Seems as though, ISIS’ latest tactic in Afghanistan is to steal U.S. military trucks, fill them with explosives and then drive them into military compounds and detonate the explosives. A recent attack on a base killed 43 soldiers from a unit of 60. The camp was totally destroyed.

An accompanying article celebrated in its headline, “Key ISIS Operative ‘Taken’ in Gunfight,” in the Philippines. The operative, who I won’t dignify by name, was a highly educated scholar, having been trained in literature and terrorist tactics at Islamabad Islamic University in Pakistan. His obituary said he was a former lecturer of Islamic studies at the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur, one of the country’s top schools. Yet, he managed to funnel money to the tune of more than $500,000 (a lot in the Philippines, not so much here), along with weapons and foreign fighters. In May 2017, the militants seized the southern city of Marawi. More than 1,000 people were killed and thousands of others were sent running for their lives. The city was declared liberated Oct. 23, and the ISIS operative was in the words of President Rodrigo Duterte, “taken,” which has been interpreted by the Western world as killed.

On the same page was an article recounting recent events in Buenos Aires, where a “high-stakes midterm election” is about to take place. One of the leading candidates, by the name of Santiago Maldonado, described as an indigenous rights activist, has been missing since Aug. 1. The remains of a body recently found, lying upstream in a river, carrying Maldonado’s identification, are suspected to be his. Maldonado’s family is waiting for official identification after the autopsy and suspect it is foul play.

What I find striking is among the horror of these stories is an ad from Bloomingdale’s advertising a “Buy more, save more 20-30% off on an amazing selection of furs, shearling, fur-trimmed outerwear and more.” Does this ad show how we’re living? What a contrast. I don’t know about you, but I am so glad to be an American, even with all of its foibles.

Getting ready to enjoy the good life are two among our most influential, conscientious and hard-working citizens. Seymour James, attorney-in-charge at the Legal Aid Society, announced that he will depart as head of the nation’s largest legal services agency in June 2018. Having joined Legal Aid in the mid1970s, James truly worked his way up the ranks. Accordingly, he stated, “It had only been my intention to stay for three years.” Now, 43 years later, he admits to having had a most rewarding career, “providing the highest quality representation to the clients assigned to me and making a difference in their lives.” James’ daughter, an attorney now practicing in Chicago, married physician Shameeke Taylor in what can only be described as a dream wedding. The nuptials took place in Bermuda and nothing could have been lovelier.

The other high-ranking chief who is calling it quits is Kenneth I. Chenault, known as “one of the longest serving executive in finance and one of corporate America’s few Black top leaders.” Chenault is currently chairman and chief executive of American Express. You know, the card you can’t leave home without. Chenault led American Express to conquer the market beyond its wildest dreams. Through branding a card for every consumer and co-branding deals with large retailers, hotel chains such as the Hilton and airlines, American Express has enjoyed a luxurious ride to the top, where they have cornered the market. In my early years, when I first started using credit cards, I recall having an Amex card and innocently asking, “What if a merchant doesn’t take American Express?” I was told to simply say with an air of indifference, “What! You don’t take American Express?”

Chaenault, who started out with Amex 16 years ago in the strategic planning department, stated, “There were people inside and outside the company who said, ‘I don’t think a Black person could ever become a CEO of a company like Amex,’ But my view, taken from my parents, was that obstacles were to be overcome.” Talk about high finance. Most recently, the company reported a third-quarter profit of $1.4 billion on sales of $8.4 billion, both ahead of analyst expectation. “We’re starting the next chapter from a position of strength,” said Chenault. “I believe our best days are ahead of us.”

Off the corporate ladder and down into the environs of Harlem, Blick’s Art Store has officially opened, located on 125th Street between Seventh and Eighth avenues. If you’re an artist or know of one, you will definitely want to check them out.

Until next week…kisses.