Fall. For most of my life fall has far and away been my most favorite time of year. Even though I suffer greatly from all the ragweed that blooms. I love the chill in the air, the smell of leaves, the crunch of them under your feet. The wind makes me feel alive.
Around here, fall means time to get ready for deer season for many folks. I have hunted and enjoyed it. I have hunted and been nothing but miserable. When we lived on the side of the highway and I worked answering phones all day for Fuller Oil, I loved escaping to deer camp on the weekends. For the solitude. No phone. No electricity. Just family and friends who'd stop by for coffee or a game of 42. Coal oil lamps and fires to warm us and cook over. Now that we live right next to the Baygall, I feel no need to "get away" somewhere. I am away, as soon as I get home.
And then there is Halloween. In my childhood, Halloween was one of the happiest times of the year. Even in my teens. But by the time I had Bubba, things were changing and now I really don't care a flip for it. Why you ask?
When I was a child, nine out of ten homes on any street would have their porch light on and give out candy. You could trick-or-treat in your own neighborhood. On foot, on bikes, whatever. It seemed everyone did it from toddler to junior high. On a warm Halloween, there'd be water balloon fights in the dark.
Our little church would have a Halloween on the sidewalk in front of the Sunday School building. There'd be booths with actual creepy, scary stuff. Stick your hand in this bowl and feel the eye balls (peeled grapes). Or in this one and feel the intestines (cold pasta).
Churches, family or friends would often have a party that included roasting wieners, making smores, dunking for apples, and hay rides. Nothing like a hay ride. Out in the night under the stars. Adventurous for the little ones, romantic for the pre-teens.
Occasionally the hayride would go down Bragg Road. The trees close in on either side of you as you drive down this dirt road. Part of the era of the railroad. The story that was told to us as we traveled the road, was that in a tragic accident, an engineer lost his head and the Bragg Light that appears, is him carrying his gas lantern, searching for his head.
In my later teens, me and friend Michele would dress up for Halloween and cruise Silsbee. One year we were gypsies. Another one we wore togas. We had a blast.
In college at SFA, one year me and my roommate dressed up as hookers and went to a Rusty Wier concert at a little club by campus.
When Pete & I married, I'd buy candy and turn our light on. The first year we had quite a few. Then next year less and then less. By the time Bubba was born in 1989, almost no one turned on their porch light anymore. Due to dwindling numbers of treaters and a trend to pile the kids in cars and descend upon residential cul-de-sacs in mass. Churches opted for the more politically correct "fall festival" which was fun, but no where near the same. It was harder and harder to get a group together for a good party. And many adults seem to have taken over Halloween for themselves.
Our church does a "Trunk or Treat" for Halloween now. I've been to help, Pete and his friend Robert take turns being a head on a table. One year I dressed as the wicked queen off of Snow White. Left my dentures out and tried to offer the children a fake apple.
But other than that, I'm overall pretty down on Halloween. Disappointed it's not the same. But even as I type this, I think perhaps it's time we try to recreate some of the past for Hannah Bug and her friends and Baby Ruth.
The idea for this entry came from the BESociety October 2014 Blogging Challenge.
What is fall to you?