Fall is my favorite time of year. After the heat of a Florida summer, I welcome the new season with relief. Fall takes it’s time arriving here, the beginning is usually still in the mid 90’s, lower if we are lucky. Labor Day week-end sets our minds toward fall but the official start in 2011 is September 23rd. There are slow tiny changes, maybe a slight breeze in the air that didn’t move at all a few days ago. The temperature slowly declines from 95 to 92 and one day 88. Ah, the 80s, finally! The humidity is not 100% anymore and the afternoon thunderstorms are less frequent, unless there is a hurricane.
You can finally wear a blouse with a sleeve and not know that it was a big mistake, maybe even jeans instead of shorts. I’m in the season of hot flashes all year long so sweaters rarely are in my closet let alone on my body!
By mid-October I always wish I had a convertible instead of a sunroof. But I do enjoy the sunroof and am thrilled to finally drive with the windows open. As soon as I get home from work I open all the windows and doors to let in the fresh air. (We have a vicious dog in case you are thinking of breaking in!)
I love all the colors of fall and can’t wait to pull out my storage box marked “FALL” to decorate with my little do-dads. Opening the box is opening memories. I replace my summer door decorations with a sunflower wreath. I have candle holders that require a trip to Yankee Candle for their pumpkin scents. I don’t go crazy decorating; there are just small little accents that make me happy. In October I decorate the lawn with dancing ghosts, they are not scary, they are fun and playful. I gave up on planting fall flowers years ago and now go to the Dollar Time and buy fakes. As long as they are seasonal and look good from the road I am happy.
Fall used to be all about comfort foods and making the house smell warm. My sister shared a recipe for Pumpkin Crisp and I make it every year; many times! If I have a pot-luck to attend this is my go-to dish. (And yes, if you want the recipe I will be glad to share!) Hearty meals start to take the place of light summer salads. It is a time for nesting, snuggling.
We love football in our house. John is a UCF and Gators fan for college and a Tampa Bay Buc’s fan for the NFL. I am a die-hard Dallas Cowboys fan and can take all the trash talk you want to give. If the Cowboys are not playing I root for good games and good teams. I am big on underdogs and most of the time if I root for a team they lose. So if you are not a Cowboys fan, you are pretty lucky. If you are a Cowboys fan, I am sorry!
Getting up early on Saturday morning allows me to go for a nice long walk. I have a five-mile route that I mapped out and I take my time to enjoy the walk itself. This is a time of peace and quiet for me. I don’t take my MP3 player because I want to be alone with my mind and my God; some of my best writings have come after these walks.
Fall is the time of festivals. I fondly remember the Craft Shows with my Mother-in-Law Heidi. (Her given name was Hilda but she will always be Heidi to me!) This was our thing; we spent the entire season going from one festival to another. It wasn’t about buying stuff as much as spending the day together. I fell in love with her in a new way each season. I haven’t gone much since she passed away; it makes me miss her too much. This time together taught me to listen to her wisdom and recognize her humor and grace. She was an amazing lady. I hope that accepting others is a trait I received from her.
New TV programming finally arrives! No more reruns! There are new shows to discover and usually discard but every once in a while you find a gem that is a keeper. The younger generation can’t appreciate the rerun doldrums of yesterday when we didn’t have cable, DVRs or DVDs. And speaking of yesterday, we get to re-visit the Charlie Brown Specials of The Great Pumpkin and A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. I still love the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. I have no idea why I love it so much, maybe it is just the tradition. I remember the first time I saw it with our color TV, it was magical.
Thanksgiving is still my favorite holiday. It is not built around gifts and commercialism but of love, friendship and gratitude. The entire point is to be together and love each other, share great food and memories. Expectations are low except for the good food part; we do expect good food and want to share our best. It is the time when you bring a stranger home for dinner and they are welcomed because they need a place to be. Some of my best Thanksgiving memories come from being a military wife and welcoming soldiers to our home for the holidays. They were the least picky of anyone, they were just happy to be somewhere with a home cooked meal (even MY cooking!) and a cold beer.
We have a wood burning fireplace on the patio and I enjoy spending the cooler evenings outside listening to the cicadas and the wood popping with a nice glass of wine. A nice soak in the hot-tub makes it even better. Peaceful.
Fall is a time of gratitude that I survived another hot summer and a time to rest. All too soon the insanity starts all over again. I like to enjoy every peaceful moment.