“Autumn … the year’s last, loveliest smile.”

Last night was cold. It got down to the 30’s, but the day has bounced back to the 40’s. The sun is brilliant. The sky is clear of clouds. It is a lovely fall day.

My front yard and back deck are covered in dead, brown oak leaves. Every time the wind blows it rains leaves. The backyard is a wild place with trees and bushes and layers of leaves. It is the dogs’ realm. I only venture into the yard to pick up the stolen goods Nala has sneaked out the dog door. Both dogs love this weather and spend a long time in the yard. Nala suns while Henry sniffs.

When I was a kid, I wanted fall to last forever. It was still warm enough in the morning not to layer warm clothes for the walk to school, and I still didn’t need the dreaded hat and pink longish underwear. I’d walk through the piles of leaves in the gutter on my way to school. The leaves crunched under my feet. They’d whirl and fly into the air. I could ride my bike in the afternoons and on Saturdays, my days for adventure. I never wasted a fall day. Winter was too close.

I remember when the mornings got cold enough so I could see my breath. I’d hold a twig like a cigarette and pretend to smoke. The afternoons usually warmed for the walk home from school, but the nights were cold, blanket cold.

I always liked this week because we had a mini vacation from school: a half day on Wednesday and two days off for Thanksgiving. I remember school on Wednesday was a waste. We usually got out around 10:30. We’d spend the morning coloring or making turkey decorations. I remember my turkeys always had multi-colored, spread out tails made from construction paper. My mother used to put our turkeys on the Thanksgiving table as decorations.

Today is dump day. I need to get dry dog food so I figured I might as well go to the dump while I’m out. I have only uke practice on Tuesday so the rest of my dance card is empty. We’ve started practicing our Christmas music. The other day I practiced Silent Night, just the music, not the lyrics. I was pleased my fingers remembered.

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5 Comments on ““Autumn … the year’s last, loveliest smile.””

  1. Bob Says:

    Hi Kat,

    Today is a sloth day, to borrow your expression. The Cowboys are playing early today so I haven’t even showered or gotten dressed. The sun is back out again today despite the weather prognosticator’s forecast of clouds and some rain. It will be a cooler high temperature today than yesterday of 67°.

    Our leaves are just beginning to turn color and fall from the trees. We haven’t had our first freeze yet. A couple of weeks ago we missed it by only one degree Fahrenheit.

    When I was a kid the days before Thanksgiving were an academic waste of time. These days, many school districts in the area give the kids the entire week off. I’m not sure how they make up for three missed days for their payments from the state.

    My better half suggested we eat a chicken from Costco instead of the pork loin roast on Thursday. Regardless, it’s a long weekend and we can have both.

    Since Halloween the retailers have been advertising, “Black Friday”, sales every day. This kind of crass commercialism makes me dislike the winter solstice holidays even more. This year Chanukah comes early on the solar calendar. All the Jewish holidays occur on the same day annually according to the Jewish calendar which is a based on the phases of the moon. However, there’s a committee of Rabbis who adjust the Jewish calendar every eleven years by adding an extra month every few years to prevent Passover from occurring in the winter. 🙁 Our Muslim friends don’t adjust their lunar calendar and Ramadan moves around through the months from one year to the next.

    When I was a kid, I used to go with my father to the Dallas Gift and Jewelry show. It was held on Labor Day weekend. This was where the stores in the Southwest region would gather and place their orders from salesman, like my father, for their Christmas merchandise. My father told me that the merchants didn’t have to pay for the goods until January tenth. This meant that the manufacturers were loaning them the goods through the holidays. If a merchant had a poor Christmas selling season, there was nothing they could do for the entire rest of the year to make up for the deficit. If we didn’t have Christmas, we would have to invent it. 🙂

    • Mr Peter Birbeck Says:

      Hi Bob, here in the UK we are bombarded with black Friday as if we knew all about it. I loathe this marketing and resist it, cancelling websites and avoiding shops that push the concept.

    • katry Says:

      Hi Bob,
      Many of my days are sloth days. I wear flannel pants and a sweatshirt, my daily uniform of sorts. I went to the dump first around 3:30 which is when I generally go on a Sunday. The dump closes at 4. Usually there are few cars. Today there were more cars than I have ever seen. I had to wait in a car line to get at the bins. After that I did mostly animal food shopping and ran into another crowd. I was thrilled to get home.

      The school where I worked for so long does have no school now on Wednesday. High school kids are different. They’ll do school work on Monday and Tuesday.

      It used to be 185 days scheduled for the school year. The 5 days were built in for snow and could be deducted if there were no snow days leaving 180. Now the year is calculated in instructional hours. You can have a longer days so you make up hour.

      I don’t ever do Black Friday. I prefer to buy my gifts partly on line as I get the most amazing catalogues. I also love to shop small at local shops. I have fun choosing just the right gifts.

      Ramadan was a tough time to teach as my Muslim students could’t eat from sunrise to sunset. The end of Ramadan was always exciting. Cannons boomed. You could hear gunfire. There were feasts. Goats were roasted and all sorts of side dishes were cooked.

      You have it backwards. First came the middle of winter when there was a celebration of light in the darkest days. There were celebrations of Yule and Saturnalia. It was a pope who chose December 25th to pull in the Saturnalia celebrants. Christmas got rowdy, almost like Mardi Gras. The Puritans outlawed Christmas in what became Massachusetts. It was Washington Irving who wrote about Christmas and Dickens who brought good will back. It was Thomas Nast who created Santa and his toys in the late 1800’s. There were no catalogues, no sales and no commercialization. That all came so much later, people capitalizing on Christmas which had already been celebrated years before it was stolen in the name of money.

  2. Mr Peter Birbeck Says:

    As an almost 77 year old (Sunset Strip anybody?), I enjoy and often share your observations, musical suggestions etc. Go Kat, go.

    • katry Says:

      I will be 77 in August so you and I are contemporaries.

      I always feel that I grew up in the best of times. We were wanderers. I’d leave on a Saturday morning and be gone all day. My mother never worried. I always felt safe. There was so much joy in my life

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