Sunday, October 31, 2010

All Hallowed Eve...

I don't like Halloween. It's my least favorite 'holiday' on the calendar. Why? I'll tell you why. Because I don't like things that 'go bump in the night'.

I enjoy the costuming, so long as it is a Disney character or an inventive costume. I do not like to see the kids or adults dressed like ghouls and vampires or other beings that cause little ones to shudder and me to have nightmares! I really do like to watch the Halloween parades of children and parents and teachers strolling past dressed as angels and fairies, butterflies and robots, artists and old people. It's an amazing fashion show, but those devils and evil monster masks give me the shakes.

When I was young, I was scared of spooky shadow shapes, and I'm afraid that I must thank some Walt Disney cartoon for that. Remember those scenes where the trees, or the shadows of them, would run after a victim? It left a lasting impression.

I don't like Halloween much because of the over dose of sugar that we all ingest at that time. There must be some safely packed, healthy snack that is available to pass out or collect, but when I've shopped, all I see is candy and sweets. When we were kids, we'd get plenty of sugared things, but we also knew it was safe to eat the fruit or popcorn or homemade cookies that our neighbors placed in our bags.

Call me old-fashioned, but I'd really like to see Halloween less glorified. I wish it would be a time when home parties would be held, with dunking for apples and popping corn, and having costume contests. The unsafe practice of running across streets in the dark in dark costumes, bolting from house to house begging for someone to throw treats into a pillowcase is much less appealing to me. My memories of childhood Halloween festivities include house parties, and they sit higher on my list than any of the ones where I was racing through the neighborhood with my friends.

Well, it's here...the dreaded night for goblins and ghosts, and I'll just have to go with the flow. It's only one night a year. To get myself in the spirit of things, I think I'll dive into the Reese's Peanut Butter cups and watch an old video ...Hocus Pocus, with Bette Midler would probably be appropriate.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Autumn Activities...

My husband and I were watching a young neighbor raking the leaves the other day. She seems to be desperate to have a pile of leaves to jump into. She'll be raking in her yard forever, since there are so few leaves in our neighborhood, due to the logging that was done before the builder started the development.

It brought back memories of my childhood. As kids, we didn't recognize the raking as a chore. We just knew that at the end, there'd be a great pile of oak leaves to lie in, jump in, roll in, bury ourselves in, hide in. That, of course, was the days before deer ticks and Lyme's disease....and no one thought twice about it. After we tired of those endeavors, the leaves went to the side of the street, where they were burned. Sometimes chestnuts would be thrown into the fire, where they would sizzle and pop like firecrackers.

As a child, we always had jack-0-lanterns carved from pumpkins. For the life of me, I don't remember ever going to pick a pumpkin, but there was always at least one on Halloween. Sometimes it was a big one, carved by my Dad. When we got a little older, we each carved one of our own.

One of my favorite activities in Fall was taking our little granddaughter to the North Fork for the festivities there. There was a place called Pumpkinville, where you could purchase the perfect future jack-o-lantern, or gourds of all sorts, local honey, and candy. Aside from that, the young ones found the petting zoo to be 'THE' event of the season. With a great variety of animals to feed or visit, it always caused the 'are we there yet, Papa' question from the time we started the car to go. Kimberly loved animals of all sorts, so being able to feed ostriches, goat kids, camels, ducks, a huge sow, and others just sent her over the edge. One year when she was two and a half, the camel nibbled gently at her hair. Later in the car she told us, 'the camel slurped me. Maybe he was trying to see if he remembered me from last time.' We were surprised that she'd remembered the trip from a year before!

These days our Autumn activities include a trip to Georgia to visit the pumpkin patch with our two youngest grandchildren. It's a traditiont, and we feel it's important to go. After all, the kids are growing far too fast, and we've discovered that the fun of holidays is watching the joy the little ones have in them.

As for us, as grandparents, there is no raking of leaves to be burned. Any leaves in existance are left to return to the earth to enrich the soil, which our red clay could certainly benefit from! We take pleasure in the wood smoke from the chimneys near-by and in the color of the trees as we travel about. We visit our vegetable stands and farmers markets for harvested foods, enjoy our time with the kids, and relish the cooler weather. With these attitudes, can it be that we are in the Autumn of our lives?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The North Fork...

This morning I've been thinking about the North Fork of Long Island. It's such a simple, slower way of life there, even as it begins to unfold to the tourists and money people who have long been on the south side.

I've always loved the towns over there....Southold, Greenport, even little Orient. It may have something to do with ancestry that I have in those places, but more likely, it is just the fact that it's a smaller, unhurried area.

In the early 90's I worked in a realty office with a woman who'd bought a small old house in Greenport. She made repairs and decorated the two story place very simply and with good taste. The tiny lot was not much bigger than the footprint of the home, but there was room enough for small gardens of roses and lilies and impatiens. It was lovely. She had a few cats, and a sweet, tiny, Yorkie, so when she would travel a few times a year, she would ask me to stay at her house so they would be cared for. Truthfully, I'm not wild about cats, but they were well behaved and as finicky as any cat can be. 'Archie', the Yorkie, was terrific company, however.

I enjoyed my time at that little house. It was a mini-vacation. I could go to Sterling's fish market and buy fresh fish and shrimp for dinner. I'd visit the vegetable stands that dot the Main Road that snakes the north fork, buying wonderful fruit and salad fixings. Sometimes I'd spend the day wandering through the nearby cemetaries, in search of family tombstones. Most often I would wander through the stores in Greenport, finding fun gifts and haunting Irish music at the Celtic store. My favorite spots where those that sold antiques! I usually didn't purchase anything, but it was always fun to look.

There was a time when I'd seriously considered purchasing a house in East Marion. I was so serious that I spent a few hundred dollars to have an inspection done and even got a job in a Greenport realty office. Of course, it would have been a little while before I would actually own the house, but I thought it would not be a chore to travel back and forth each day on the ferries from the south fork to the north. As it turned out, the old house needed a lot more work than it originally showed (which was plenty, at first sight, I might add.) I loved the house, it still had it's original, fully, wainscotted walls, wood plank floors, a great, big pantry, and some built in cupboards. There was a window in the front upstairs bedroom which had initials scratched into the glass. I was told by the owner that supposedly a young woman had etched her fiance's initials into the glass, using the diamond he'd given her. It was my type of home, simple, roomy, and untouched for years...a rustic farmhouse. Though the selling price was fine, the work needed would have been far more expensive for me than I could have found money for. It was with much regret that I walked away from the house, and another dream died. As a side note, I'd always known my grandmother was born in East Marion, on the Main Rd, which is where my hoped for house sat. I didn't know where her birthplace was exactly, and I found out many years later, that my Grandmother's home was actually across the street and down the road a few doors, from the one I was looking at.

I'm a believer that things happen the way they are meant to, even though we don't always recognize that at the time. I suffer pangs at times when I think about the old farm house, but I know that I'm right where I'm supposed to be in this day. I
don't live in an old, money pit of a house. I don't even live on the North Fork. The comforting thing is, I can still visit both whenever I thumb through the memories. It's not such a bad thing, and I can honestly say, I have no regrets.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

THAT time of year....

Yes,'s that time of year again. It's still October, there are still green leaves on the trees near our house, and it's not even Halloween yet. mind is on Christmas....well, some of it is, at least.

This morning I woke at 3:30, got up at 4, and fixed my usual cup of coffee. Then I wandered out to the sun porch where the folding tables are set up for our big family dinners. They currently are loaded from one end to the other with papers, stickers, markers, cutting tool, and other supplies for making my Christmas cards. If I haven't started them by this time each year, there won't be enough for my ever-growing list. When I lived in East Hampton, I made only twenty-five or so, but now that I'm many miles from there, and because we hand-exchange them at our church, my list is much longer.

I try not to duplicate my cards. They may be similar, but like snowflakes, there are no two exactly alike. The design may be the same or similar, but background paper or the message will be different. I'd like each one who receives one of my cards to know that it is made uniquely, otherwise, I could just send one from a store-bought box.

When I was working every day, it was hard to accomplish my ideas as easily as I can now. There would be such pangs within me to make the things I wanted to, that I would often cry with the disappointment that I wasn't allowed to be who I was born to be. With retirement, all that has changed! Hallelujah! I am free to be ME, and at no other time of the year do I appreciate that more than at Christmas time. I create cards and gifts, and feel so fulfilled in doing so!

I've taken long enough with my break for Facebook and Blogging. I'm going back to the sun room now. Watch your mailbox in early December. You just may find one of the fruits of my labor.
Enjoy your day today, being just who you were meant to be!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Telemarketing Calls

A major annoyance in our family, and probably most others, is telemarketing calls. The other day someone from a travel agency called. I have no need of a travel agent, as we do road trips and with my internet, I do the planning myself. If I was going to travel by plane, or out of the country, I'd definitely use an agent who lives in the neighborhood. So, when the woman on the phone told me what she wanted, I told her that I wasn't planning to go anywhere and thank you, but I didn't need an agent at this time. I wished her a good day...and just before I hung up I heard her say, "You're going someplace someti.....

I generally do not answer phone numbers that pop up on my caller ID unless I know them. It's always a telemarketer or someone campaigning for something or looking for a donation for some reason. I understand that these people are trying to make a living, but I am annoyed that they barge into my house with their scripts in hand and rattle on without allowing me a word in edgewise. Not only that, but they will not take 'no' for an answer.

One of our favorite family stories involves telemarketers....Newsday. We did not have caller ID then, and the newspaper made calls every week in hopes of getting a new subscriber. It began to irk me a great deal. My teenaged drama lover, Erinne, said, "Next time, let me talk to them." So, I did. The conversation went like this:

Newsday: "Good afternoon. Is this the lady of the house?"

Erinne, with affected British accent: " The lydie? The lydie? Wye no, she's gown out in the carriage with the lawd."

ND: " I'm sorry?"
E: repeated previous line...and asked, "Mye oy 'elp you?"

ND: "I'm calling from Newsday" and went on to ask if she'd like to receive a subscription..blah, blah, blah.
E: "Newsdye? Newsdye? Wot is Newsdye?"

ND: "It's the Long Island newspaper...blah blah blah
E: "Well wye wuld oy need a newspyper? We've got th' town croyer"

ND: " Are you Irish?
E: "Oyrish???? Wye NO! of cawse oy'm nawt Oyrish!"

ND: "Oh...English? How long have you been in this country?
E: "' eva.

ND: "Well, I'd really like to introduce you to Newsday."
E: "Oh...oy'm saw-ree, I really must go. Someone's at the moat...oy 'ear the dragon rawring."

And the call was ended. I really must try that one of these days! If nothing else, it ought to give the telemarketer a good laugh.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Old-time Kitchen

This morning when I was waiting for the coffee to brew, I took note of the antique items which sit on the space above my cabinets. Doing so brought other old items to mind which my grandkids wouldn't recognize in their homes today.

While most families these days enjoy the convenience of food processors to chop, grind and otherwise mutilate food, I remember other tools. In my Mother's kitchen, and Grandmother's before her's, there was a tool called a meat grinder. It had a screw-type grip that attached to a stool, or table top, and a crank on the side. It was made of heavy metal and had an opening on the top where the solid meat would enter, and an opening on the side with a cover with holes over it. Once the meat was pushed into the top, you'd turn the crank, which turned the grinder inside, turning the meat into small bits which would then be forced out of the grate on the side. With a little elbow grease, you had the equivalent of hamburger.

For chopping things like cabbage, there was a chopping bowl made of wood, and a crescent blade with a wooden handle. It did a good job, and you could judge for yourself how coursely or finely the chop was.

Another, can't-live -without tool was the egg beater. This handy gadget had to mixing blades, similar to it's descendant, the electric beater. The old egg beater usually had a wooden handle which you held with one hand and a small crank on the side that you turned with the other hand. It would turn the mixing blades, and voila...beaten eggs or heavy cream, etc.

There were other interesting items in an old-time kitchen. An early toaster was square on the bottom, with four sides that slanted up from the bottom to a smaller square on the top. The inside was open. On each side was a wire that was attached with spring type hinges, which held the bread against the side. The toaster would be placed on a stove burner, and the heat would toast the bread on one side. You'd have to watch carefully, so it wouldn't burn, and physically turn the bread over to toast on the other side. Coffee was made in the drip manner...or sometimes a perculator, but not electrically. The coffee pot would be made of enamel or later, aluminum, and placed on the stove burner. There were no microwaves to heat water for tea... a big whistling tea kettle would do the job, again, on the flame of the stove.

I wonder if my grandkids...or even my own kids, would know how to use some of these things today. I still have my old kitchen tools, and often used them. There's a rarely used blender and a never-used food processor in my cabinets, but does that mean I have to use them? I enjoy doing some things in the old ways....but I will say, I'm grateful for modern appliances, like dishwashers and laundry machines!

Monday, October 18, 2010


Here we go...all sorts of cookie memories. "Thanks, Barbara" I say, with a smile and a rumbling in my stomach as thoughts of cookies take control of my body.

My earliest run-in with store-bought cookies was in utero. No...really! My Mom and Dad had moved to Glens Falls, NY early in their marriage, and Dad worked at the Nabisco company while he was going to flight school to learn to be a pilot. Because there wasn't a lot of money and because there were items that were rejected for sale by the inspectors at the company, he would bring a lot of 'goodies' home. Boxes of Mallomars were the ones that most often came home with him. Mom told me that they 'practically lived on them.' My being was very new, and while I was safely growing in the warmth of my mother's body, I was being fed my first chocolate. Poor Mom found herself also rejecting the Mallomars, as well as everything else she put into her stomach all day, for nearly nine months.

They didn't stay upstate for long. They moved back home and I was born and reared in a home where my mother baked the BEST cookies in the world. I grew up smelling freshly baked chocolate chip, peanut butter, oatmeal raisin, spicy ice box cookies, chocolate brownies, brown sugar brownies, among others. We rarely had grocery store cookies in our home. When we did, I thought they tasted like cardboard. The only cookies I actually liked that weren't homemade were fig newtons that I had at my Grandmother Beebe's house and Oreos that were devoured at my friend, Chris' house.

When I got married I baked dozens of cookies per month. I rarely bake them now because I eat too many of them when I do! It is a treat when I make them. Mike loves them, but he doesn't eat many sweets, and I'm the one who ends up with them on my lips and hips for years. We do bake with the grandkids sometimes, and they enjoy doing that, as well as eating the results of our labors. I like to make cutout cookies sometimes...sugar cookies, lemon cookies, cinnamon spiced ones. Then, I like to decorate them with icings. At Christmas I make all the old favorites that Mom made, and I send them to the kids. That works quite well for all of us.

At this moment, I'm feeling a great need to head for the pantry, get out that bag of chocolate chips and the rest of the ingredients and fire up that oven. Mmmmm...I can taste them heck with the hips!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Fall, At Last

Yesterday's weather signaled for me the beginning of Fall here in the upstate of SC. Other places north of here have color on the trees, having had cooler weather for a few weeks. Ours, on the other hand, has been in the 80's during the day. Yesterday, though, there was a stiff breeze and cooler temperatures, and I spent the day wearing my cozy, pink sweatshirt.

It's good yard work weather. I wish my body would cooperate enough to do it. I've completely given up my gardening ideas, as the constant aches I feel are aggravated by the tug of war with the weeds. Let me say this, too, that even if my aging frame would stand strong against the battle, my mental attitude toward the fight is that of defeat. I've learned in my four years here that the weeds are strong, the clay is stronger yet, and I'm no match for it. So, good weather or not, this body had given in to the agony of defeat.

There are things I can ....and should do. I can lift all but the heaviest of potted plants and bring them inside before the cold nights we've been having cause the green and living things to turn brown and dead. I can bail out the barrel fountain, clean it, and get it into the shed. I can turn over the basins on the bird bath. (That, however, will cause an uproar with the wing-ed beings.)

I'm thinking of Christmas, with the coming of this cool weather. I really should update my shopping list, gather the gifts that I have stored away, and get the rest of the shopping done. I also have to take Mom to buy her gifts, after I collect ideas and sort through who has already purchased what, and then give her the list to choose from. Shopping for great lengths of time used to be a joy for me. Not anymore. My foot starts screaming after an hour or so, and then I begin to favor that foot, causing pain to jump over to my other leg! This year, I forsee a good number of short stints, picking up a few gifts at a time.

The pressure begins to mount, as I know that there is a trip to NY coming soon. It may be as long as two weeks away, it may be less...and I suppose it's possible that it will even be longer. I have too much to do, and I'd like to get home I hope the whole thing goes quickly.

Ahhhh... Fall. I've waited for it. I'm glad that it's here. The air, the smells, the foods, the clothing, the activities....all are different in the Fall, and I must say that today it is my favorite of all seasons.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Thoughts of Tom...

Today he's been gone for four years.

How do I describe my brother? Long and lanky. Deep brown eyes and curly dark hair which turned gray fairly early. Sensitive and thoughtful. Caring. Witty. Determined. Philosopher. Writer.

Although he was plagued by rheumatoid arthrits for nearly 40 years, he didn't complain. His body was stiff, his joints were 'frozen' and some were swollen. He hobbled when he walked with careful steps. He didn't care to fall. As lame as his body was, as painful as it must have been for him at times, he wouldn't give up. He still stood, as tall as his body would allow. He rested when he needed to, but he worked in his yard and on his hobby car and on his truck when his ailment would allow. He used his key at a time. The doctors were in awe of him, believing that he 'should' have been in a wheel chair long years before. He never was.

Those dark brown eyes were soft and warm, and when you looked into them, you often saw the playfulness in them. Sometimes it was sadness you might see, for the compassion within him was great. Always, behind those eyes, were deep thoughts....sometimes shared, and sometimes kept hidden.

As children, we shared jokes and laughter and silliness. As adults we shared a close relationship, revealing things to each other that others were never privy to. We encouraged one another. We were more than siblings, we were friends.

Today as I remember Tom, so many thoughts swirl. I think of his fatherhood, of his raising two sons, alone, after he gained full custody of them. He kept his home 'all male' as he raised them, not wanting to involve himself in relationships that would cause his attentions to drift from his boys. He also was protecting himself from the hurt that relationships had brought him in his earlier years. Later, after his sons had grown, he wondered if he'd done the right thing by keeping himself free of females, as he felt that his boys hadn't had the opportunity to learn from his example, how to treat women.

Whatever his regrets or feelings might have been, he made one right decision for certain. His deep faith in God caused him to live the best way he could, and with a strength that was misunderstood by some. Now I know that although I miss him dreadfully, that he stands in that strength in a renewed body, in a new land, with his God. How could I ever wish him back, just to soothe my selfish heart which is lonely for his company?

I couldn't...I wouldn't....for he lives in health and in peace and I know I'll see him again when the Lord takes me Home. 'Til then, Tom. Love you...


Just the other day, I was telling my husband how I hate waiting. I used to have more patience than most people, but these days, I seem to be lacking some. Waiting for anything is more difficult for me than it used to be.

I've spent time waiting in cars for children to be released from school or activities, waiting in lines at the stores, waiting for my turn in the doctor's office. In days past, I'd take it in my stride, and fill the time with something other than thinking about waiting. These days, for some reason, waiting irritates me.

At the moment, I'm waiting to hear a date when my mother's rental house will be empty. Since we are the ones who take care of the repairing and the business end of the house, we will need to make an 1800 mile round trip to do so. It would be nice if we could make a definite plan as to when we'll go, but here we sit....waiting for word. My patience is dwindling. As we listen for that phone call, we search for warmer clothing to pack, we locate the painting tools, we make lists of potential tenants to interview and gather phone numbers we might need while there. There is a lot to do before we go....things to buckle down the gardens for the winter, the last mowings, etc. We also need to get the house ready for guests for Thanksgiving dinner, in the hope that we will accomplish our jobs up north and be home again for that holiday. There's also Christmas to buy for, things that I normally do in October and November. With the addition of a trip of probably two weeks or so, I need to hustle my bustle.

Waiting is inevitable, and I really don't mind it when I know that there is a deadline. With pregnancies, you know that it'll come to an end on or about a specific calendar date. With holidays, you have a date to shoot for. But, this business is just keeping me on tinderhooks...and I'm getting antsy.

I guess I'd better just forget about the waiting and get busy. Maybe I won't notice the wait if I fill my days. The bonus is, I'll also get the work done!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Tight Spaces

Gosh...I just saw a news report about rescuers of the trapped men in Chile. They are 2,300 feet below ground. One of the rescuers was demonstrating the way they will get down the tunnel by standing in a metal mesh, 24" cylindrical cage which is lowered mechanically.

I don't know about you, but I'm not one to enjoy tight spaces. Even in such a cage, which is open enough to see through, it's too confining for me. And, going underground for any reason, let alone into a small tunnel, is not for this light lover. I want my feet solidly on the ground and plenty of space in which to move around.

I've never had an MRI or CT scan, but I've watched them when some family members have had to be tested. I'm sure I'd feel claustrophobic having something as close to my face as that machine is. I know they've got 'open' ones, but I don't know if they're good for testing every condition known to the medical world. If I ever find myself in the position of needing such a test, I will find out at that time, by asking.

I remember a vacation in Texas. We visited a place called 'the Natural Bridge' between San Antonio and New Braunfels. It is a rock formation of 65' bridge above ground with caverns below. Three of the four of us decided to tour the caverns. Well, the four of us started down the paved path into the cave, but one of us, upon hearing we would descend to a depth of 211' feet, decided to turn and run for the daylight. Guess who?

Another time, Mike and I went to New Hampshire, and visited a place called the Ice Caves. I was fine while I was in the open air, and I truthfully did attempt to enter the Caves. But, the anxiety hit, my heart pounded and my chest felt tight. I couldn't do it. I felt like a 'party pooper', but Mike went in and did the exploring, and when he returned, he told me that it was very snug in there....almost too tight for him. His words gave me relief, and I abandoned the 'party pooper' feeling.

I'm thinking that 'coal miner' can easily be erased from my list of possible future occupations.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Erratic Weather

October is so moody this year. Two weeks ago we were loving the 80 deg days. Last weekend we woke to 45 deg weather, and felt as if we were freezing until the sun rose to its height and warmed the day into the high 60's and 70's. Today is started at 45, but is predicted to be 82 deg, where it is said to be all the way into next week.

I have no doubt that these fluctuations in temperatures contribute to the victims of the flu. How does one decide what is the proper outfit to wear in such weather? I guess the best way to deal with this is to layer clothing, shedding as the day warms. I keep a jacket in the van, as well as my sneakers with socks, just in case my body feels the need for more than my flip flops and short sleeves.

As much as I love the Fall, I really do appreciate more even temperatures. I like to know what to expect, as my own physical thermostat is thrown off rather easily. I feel heat and cold more extremely than most people appear to. A comfort zone, for me, is a special thing to find on a 'good' day, not to mention one that fluctuates 30 to 40 deg. in hours.

There's not much I can do about it, so I guess I'll just hush up and go search for something that I can layer together, peeling them off, one layer at a time until 4pm, when I start putting them back on. Whatever your weather today, enjoy your day, and rejoice in the fact that you are alive and have the freedom to enjoy it or complain about anything...including the weather!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

It's October

Well, here we are, five days into this glorious month...and we are experiencing serious Autumn temperatures. We went from the 90's to high 80's and then to two or three days that started in the 60's and rose to the 80's. Then, CRASH!!! The morning thermometer reads 46 degrees! I will not turn on the heat until the last horn toots...when the sweaters, socks and sweatpants don't bring comfort any longer. I'm hoping to manage with that plan until sometime in November. I may actually be able to pull that off since the weather predictions are that we'll be seeing days that hover around 80 deg again by the end of this week.

I know, I know. It's inevitable. It will get cold enough, all too soon, to warrant turning the heat up. As the days shorten, the temperatures will drop and the thermostat (and electric bill!) will rise. That is, of course, one of the joys of living in a four-season environment.

Chilly fingertips and toes not withstanding, let me say that I truly do enjoy these days just before the nudging up of the thermostat. The cooler nights will bite the trees and they will soon present us with spectacular displays of brilliant color. Standing against the clear blue skies, they will bring a thrill that no other season offers. Wood smoke is already perfuming the air, as those who are less apt to appreciate the cool mornings light up their woodstoves.

For the moment, I'll go find a warmer pair of socks, or locate my fuzzy slippers, and I'll snuggle beneath my fleece throw until the day warms up a bit.

Friday, October 1, 2010


Today is the first day of October. There is not another month that thrills me the way October does. The light just before dusk is golden, the sunrises are spectacular, and the trees with a brilliant Autumn-colored wardrobe are breath-taking.

Every month has its own goodness, every season gives it's offerings....but somehow, the joy that October gives me seems incomparable. I wonder at those who travel to the mountains or to another state to view the leaves, when right here, all around us, is such beauty as the maples turn red and gold and russet. Standing beside the green pines, hollies and rhododendruns, the forests are alive with bursts of red sumac and Virginia creeper!

I'm grateful that there are ordinances about burning when the weather is too dry, but you'd think that most would have enough common sense without being told when not to light fires. But, in this area, we are still allowed to have a burn pile in our yards, and burn barrels for paper garbage. I could forego the smell of garbage, but burning leaves is something that takes me back to my childhood, when we'd rake the dry, brown leaves to the road, set fire to them, and toss in a few chestnuts. Oh my!

We could have stayed in my old hometown. We could have moved anywhere, but I'm glad that we chose another place that has four seasons to enjoy. The golden days of Autumn, the wintery days of white, the glorious green of Spring, and the warm, blue skies of Summer.....blessings in all, but especially in October.