Memories, of the way we used to be….one of my favorite old songs. Misty water-color mem’ries of the way we were.
This next month is a bittersweet month for me. Filled with memories of beautiful autumn days, walks in the woods, shuffling thru fallen leaves just to hear them crunch under my feet. I still love that sound. I can sometimes close my eyes and remember the smells of autumn. I’ve lost that sense of smell now, but oh, the memories of crisp fall air. Sweet hay in the soft winds that blow across the fields. Grass mown for maybe the last time that year.
The goldenrod would be mostly be gone, but enough still hanging around to send its pollen out to all the noses in the Ohio Valley area, causing more than its share of misery for such a pretty flower. Just enough waiting around to catch us all off guard, just waiting for that first frost of the season.
School has been in session since Labor Day, and our bobbie socks and penny loafers are still looking like new, because they are only worn to school. Since the air is beginning to get crisp, there will be soup waiting for us when we get home from school. Mom will have put a huge pot on right after we left home in the morning, and by the time we get off the bus it will be hot and ready to eat. Milk from the morning milking, and crackers from the weekend trip to the grocery waiting beside our bowls on the table. Unless, of course, she had baked a pie. When mom baked a pie she would take the leftover pie crust and make homemade crackers from it. Those were the best. I can remember when mom would let me cut out the crackers after she had the pies made. That was fun, and I would almost — note, I said ALMOST — as good as eating the pie.
Of course, we all had our favorite pie. Tony and Larry, I remember, loved chocolate, Steve loves pecan, I’ll take either lemon or pumpkin, and I really don’t remember about the rest of the family. Possibly any and all of the above and every other kind known to man. This time of year though, for me at least, it has to be pumpkin. That just goes with autumn, like the changing color of the leaves.
I don’t remember how many years it’s been since I took this picture, but I still love it. I’ll never understand why one tree remains green while the one next to it and the one across the road are both orange, but it’s one of God’s wonders. I have always wanted a shirt or a dress this color, but have never seen it captured this perfectly in any store. They try, but not successfully. Kind of as a side note, the MS color is orange. During September it has also been the color for feeding the hungry, and somewhere I saw that it’s also the color for fighting animal abuse. That figures. MS is an orphan disease, so it seems only natural that our color should be used for everything else. I guess that’s why we are orphans.
Okay, back to the memories. I’m not sure if I have very many more. Oh, there is one, but it will not be shared tonight. Maybe later, but not tonight.
After the first frost, we would all take our large grass bags and go to the woods to gather the walnuts. There was one tree especially that we climbed all summer, and played under, and that I sat and dreamed in, and it was a prolific provider of walnuts. So we — Tony, Steve, Larry, Sylvie and I, along with Doug and Pat Blandford, our cousins who lived behind us and shared the tree on our property line, would gather walnuts. Maybe I should say, some of us gathered walnuts, while some used them as missiles in their never-ending battles against each other. It all depended on age and maturity — I myself, being most mature, though not the oldest. And everyone who believes that, I have a bridge in Brooklyn for sale, really inexpensive.
After bringing our bounty home we would spread the walnuts out in the driveway, and drive the cars and dad’s truck over them until a few weeks before Christmas, to get the heavy green outer hull off and let the black inner shells dry. Then came the real fun. Picking them up the second time, and staining our hands a nice walnut brown in the process. Tony usually got the pleasant job of cracking the shells, while mom and I would use our nutpickers to get the meat out of the shells. Then the baking and candy making would begin. Usually while we were at school. And usually already frozen by the time we got home from school.