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Musings by Marilou: Get ready for fall, ya’ll

Wednesday, September 29, 2021
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Just like that, elves are already stocking the department store shelves with red and green ornaments, Christmas wrap, shiny tinsel, and chocolate-covered cherries. And to think, I was afraid it was too soon to buy a pumpkin—silly me.

For years I’ve heard people complain about Christmas items being displayed before Halloween approaches, but now it has gone absolutely over the top. Halloween decorations are already marked 40 percent off of their original price. Flocked Christmas trees are replacing animated skeletons as we speak, and all I want is a Pumpkin Spice and Vanilla Chai candle. I’m ready to stand in the middle of Hobby Lobby and scream, “Stop it! Let me enjoy autumn, in all its glory, first!”

I am one of many who claim fall as their favorite season. I love the crisp, cool weather, the sight of golden, red, and yellow leaves haphazardly dangling from their branches, and the smell of corn dogs, popcorn, and caramel apples at county fairs. I am a fan of candy corn, roasted peanuts, fancy fairy pumpkins, and black-eyed Susans; pumpkin patches, corn mazes, and s’mores also top my list. This gal, who didn’t experience breezy autumn nights in south Louisiana, is all about fall in West Texas.

Even though many associate fall with the spooks and ghouls of Halloween, that has never been my thing. I enjoy watching children dressed as superheroes, animals, and cartoon characters. Scary creatures and bloody costumes? No, thank you. I could probably do without Halloween as long as we still had popcorn balls, candied apples, caramel, and lots of candy. Jacko-lanterns could stay; haunted houses would have to go.

As I have written in the past, I am a scaredycat. I have never liked spooky houses. I didn’t mind dressing up as a zombie; however, when the grandson and I participated in New Orleans’ Zombie Run, that was fun because we were chasing joggers. I don’t like being on the other end. According to my parents, I had been that way ever since I was a child.

My mom told me that I would check under every bed in the house and every closet each evening before sleeping. I would make sure that all of the curtains were closed, and I locked every door. Dad said he never knew what I thought I would find or what I would do if something jumped out at me, but it was my nightly ritual in preparation for pleasant slumber.

Autumn, even as the temperatures begin to drop, is a month of warmth; it’s as rich as molasses, as golden as honey, and as much as I enjoy Christmas, the gathering of friends and family at Thanksgiving makes me all gooey inside. The idea of bonding over pumpkin pie and roasted turkey with family conjures up visions of Norman Rockwell’s “Freedom From Want.”

Unfortunately, that print resembled nothing close to my family Thanksgiving. At least one person was usually unhappy for some unknown reason, had just fought with a younger sibling, or didn’t like where they were seated. Mom was most likely overwhelmed, Dad was eyeing and correcting ill-behaved grandchildren, and the rest of us just wanted to skip dessert and then disperse. Even with all of that, I loved the holiday, and even though there were times when everyone was waiting for the next colossal family blowup to erupt, no one would have missed it for the world.

Dad and I would pick ripe, orange Japanese persimmons from the backyard, and mom would combine them with pecans, cinnamon, and nutmeg for a pudding, usually served hot and topped with ice cream. And, traditionally, my mom and sisters-in-law loaded the kitchen table with pies, pralines, divinity, and varieties of fudge. There was often a game of catch after lunch, or we would watch football on the television in Dad’s study. And, of course, everyone took naps.

As much as I love the sights, smells, and sounds of autumn, I would have to crown October, November, and December as my favorite months. Some people associate December with winter, but I lump them all together. Besides, apple cider, pumpkin cookies, and s’mores deserve more than just two months. And don’t forget the pumpkin spice latte; it’s as good in December as in October.

Let’s not rush anything; let’s enjoy fall, you all. I pray the weather continues to cooperate. No one wants to roast marshmallows when it’s 90 degrees.

Stop it! Let me enjoy autumn, in all its glory, first!”

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