Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Legends of the Fall…
I love fall! I love the smells, the sights, the crisp feel in the air, and the memories that come back to me during this time of year.

I remember when I was about 6 or 7 years old, I’d be so excited about the chestnuts falling from the three big chestnut trees in our front yard. I would gather them up in a big basket and I’d eat them as fast as I could put them in the basket! I liked them raw, not roasted, but I don’t recall ever turning down a roasted one either. Also, I remember my teacher’s aid in my 1st grade class, Mrs. Betty Neves and how she loved chestnuts, too. I would get her some in a paper bag and take them to her. She would always act like I’d brought her a bag of gold nuggets. She made me feel so good about my simple gesture. I wonder if she really liked them as much as she acted like she did? Or did she just pretend as a means of assuming a 6 year old? Either way, that woman was such a sweetheart and I loved her.

I remember when the spider lilies bloomed in our yard. They would just pop up out of nowhere and were scattered all over the place. I would go around and pick just about everyone that I saw and I’d have a huge bunch of them in my hands coming through the door. Mom would put them in a big vase and I remember thinking they weren’t near as pretty in the vase as they were popping up out of the ground from the bare grass! To this day, I get a bit nostalgic when I see spider lilies. They remind me of home and Mother and that awesome time of year.

I remember raking the leaves with mom in the yard and burning the piles. Those chestnut burrs would burn forever and we’d have several smoky piles of leaves and chestnut burrs scattered around the yard. It would start getting dark and cool and I’d love the way the burning piles would start casting off a spooky glow. On occasion, we’d roast a marshmallow or two just for the sake of not wasting a good smoldering fire.

I remember coming home from elementary school and getting a report on Mother’s progress on my Halloween costume for the upcoming Halloween escapades. Mother made our costumes from scratch and was a master at taking clothes and items we already had and turning them into the perfect costume. They were always so awesome! One year, I was Glinda the Good Witch and she made me a beautiful tall glittery crown just like the one Glinda wore and the wand to match. And one year, I was a Wicked Witch (do you see my Wizard of Oz obsession surfacing at this time in my life?) and she made me the most amazing hair and attached it to a witch’s hat. It must have been 3 scains of an ugly grey yarn that was wound into hundreds of tight curly curl. And it was a full head of hair! I really have no idea how she made the yarn curl tight like that but it was very cool looking! And the hat had a mouse running up the side. I remember thinking that was the coolest touch! She was so clever and creative with our costumes! I remember thinking I was very lucky to have a mom that would spend time doing stuff like that for me.

I remember trick-or-treating in Fort Gaines, Ga with my brother and cousins. We would go to my grandmother’s house and get our picture made and then we’d leave together and ride in a pick-up truck, usually in the back of it, and head into town. We’d go to all the cool houses, like the White’s, the Crapps, the Neves, and we’d see SO MANY of our friends on the streets as we’d go house to house. It was definitely not like it is now! We actually went to the front door of every house and we walked all through the town and we weren’t scared of anything happening to us or anyone grabbing us. Everyone knew everyone. Every house gave good candy, many of the houses had some surprises around the corner and all the kids rode around in the back of trucks. And when we had our fill of ringing doorbells and our baskets, buckets and bags were loaded down with confections, we would head back to Mama’s house to inspect the loot. We would all sit in the floor, me, my brother Steve and my cousins David, Jamie and Valerie and we would dump all our candy out and go through it piece by piece. Sometimes we’d do some swapping but most times we coveted our own loot and just starting making our mental schedule for when we would eat what. It was truly a magical time and I remember thinking I never wanted to go trick-or-treating ANYWHERE other than Fort Gaines!

Fall is such an awesome time of year! I appreciate the weather, the fall colors, the activities and most importantly, the memories!

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