This is the pasture in front of my house. They shredded and bailed hay this week. Pretty, isn’t it?
My favorite time of the year. The end of September brings a subtle change in the weather and by the time October rolls around, we may have already had our first cold front. I can’t wait. Early morning and late evening I begin to notice a chill in the air. The sun goes down earlier. I’m ready to start wearing fall colors and begin to think about digging out our winter clothes and changing to heavier bedding.
My husband is always thrilled because after a summer of not wanting to cook, I’m finally back in the mood. I’ll have to admit there is nothing better than the aroma of a hearty pot of soup bubbling on the back of the stove, unless it’s bread rising or something sweet baking in the oven. Just thinking about it makes my mouth water.
The month is gearing up, and as always it’s a busy one. Our anniversary was the third. There are five birthdays this month (three on one day). We’ve been watching one of the grandsons play soccer, one of the granddaughters play in the high school band at football games. There’s Autumn Trails activities and Halloween to come. In a couple of weeks we plan a trip south to Texas hill country to see another grandson play football and another granddaughter play volleyball. Go Grandkids!!
Every year in October the little town in northeast Texas where I live holds a month long celebration with activities every weekend. People from all over east Texas attend. Families arrive early to spend the day and visit, just like they did at county fairs years ago. The entire town is decorated. Pumpkins and gourds, all shapes and sizes, gorgeous mums in every autumn color imaginable perch on hay bales beside scarecrows or in wheelbarrows or wagons. They grace porches, yards and even storefronts downtown.
Last weekend was our annual Arts and Crafts Show in City Park and downtown. For those not used to life in a small town, it’s an experience. People parked their cars at the old train depot (which now houses the Chamber of Commerce) and walked across the street to vendors’ exhibits. The weather was great and my daughter and I snagged some goodies.
Doesn’t my little pumpkin figure look like something from The Nightmare Before Christmas? And I love the clock face. The silver keychain made from a silver-plate fork is for my granddaughter who will be getting her license soon.
Another one of the traditions in our family is to take long drives out in the country, particularly during the changing of the seasons. When we first moved to east Texas, it thrilled me to learn we’d actually get to enjoy fall weather. In south Texas, where I was raised, it wasn’t unheard of to go trick or treating wearing shorts and flip flops or celebrate Thanksgiving with the air conditioner going full blast and sweating over the turkey.
We’ve been known to drive for hours down oil top roads and over rickety bridges past old deserted houses and through cemeteries, stopping to look at the dates and wonder about the people laid to rest there. Who were they? Where did they come from? What were their dreams and hopes? We’ve driven past abandoned community centers and old school buildings that used to serve a community long gone.
And since we live within driving distance of Pittsburg, Carthage, Paris, Omaha, and Palestine, (Texas, that is) we can cover a lot of ground on a Sunday afternoon drive.
On the fourth weekend of the month, downtown merchants participate in a sidewalk sale during the Car Rally. Classic cars such as Corvettes, Model T’s, and Thunderbirds, just to mention a few, make their way down Main Street in the heart of our town.
My husband spends his time reminiscing about every vehicle he sees that either he or his dad owned at one time or another.
City Park hosts a swap meet/flea market and you can grab a bit of lunch if you want. Once again Food vendors offer all kinds of good things to eat like funnel cakes, grilled onion burgers, hot dogs, corn dogs and barbecue. You can spend your entire day outside enjoying the crisp fall weather, shopping and eating. And while you’re at it, you can catch up with who won the Friday night football game or what’s going on in town.
This weekend our little town will likely double its population at least, and we’re talking horses and mules as well as people. The annual Autumn Trails trail ride always comes through town on Friday afternoon. We have teams and wagons, horseback riders, folks from all over the area. We gather on the front porch to watch them, because they always pass down our street on their way to City Park, where they headquarter. Before long, the smell of food being cooked over campfires drifts our way. Mules bray and horses whinny. We can hear the music from the barn dance. Saturday morning, you’re liable to park next to a horse drawn wagon at the grocery store. After a pancake breakfast Sunday morning, trail riders set out down scenic country routes, and stop for a picnic lunch midday before returning. Leaves are just beginning to turn on the trees and everything is beautiful.
I remember one year in particular. My daughter Carrie was a senior in high school. Even though she probably thought she’d outgrown it, she sat with me and watched the parade anyway, because that’s what we always did. We waved to the regulars, admired the horses and laughed at the good-natured joking, just like always.
As pretty as she is, Carrie got lots of attention. This time in particular, she caught the eye of one handsome, young cowboy in a duster, riding by on a prancing, dark horse. I’ll never forget the expression on his face when he caught sight of her sitting on the steps. She had his attention. All of it. When she realized, she smiled her million dollar smile and giggled. And as the riders moved slowly past, he shifted in his saddle and turned, looking so long and so hard he ran into the back of a wagon. The parade moved on, but before we knew it, Carrie’s cowboy on the dark horse had turned around and was riding up to our porch! With a smile, he touched a gloved hand to the brim of his hat and nodded a greeting. Like someone who’d stepped out of the past, he asked her if she would do him the honor of finishing the ride with him. Is that not romantic?
And that’s the story of how Carrie got to be in the parade one year. And it really happened that way, just like a scene played out in a movie.
I’ll never forget my first experience with Autumn Trails. Every year in October the little town where I live holds a month long celebration with scheduled activities every weekend. People from all over the state attend. Families arrive early to spend the day and visit, just like they did at county fairs years ago.
And the entire town is decorated. Pumpkins and gourds, all shapes and sizes, gorgeous mums in every autumn color imaginable perch on hay bales beside scarecrows or in wheelbarrows or wagons. The decorations grace porches, yards and even storefronts downtown.
This weekend is our annual Arts and Crafts Show in City Park and downtown. For those of you not used to life in a small town, it’s an experience. Depending on where it’s held, an entire city block may be shut down and traffic rerouted for the duration. People part their cars at the old train depot (which now houses the Chamber of Commerce) and walk across the street to vendors’ exhibits.
You never know what you’ll be tempted to buy until you arrive. Quilts, jewelry, pumpkins, gourds, sugar cane, scarecrows, scented candles, paintings. Food vendors offer huge pickles, hamburgers smothered in onions grilled turkey legs and oil field sausage on a stick. Along with that, there’s the antique tractor pull and barbecue cook-off.
I’m all geared up! I’ll see you there.