It’s October, a time for changes and treats

By: 
Patrick Fisher, The New Prague Times

It’s October and we all know what that means. It’s a time when the trees really begin changing colors and for some farmers it’s the final stages of harvest season. It’s a time when some fields are golden with corn stalks or a bright orange with pumpkins. When you can come over a hill or around a bend on Highways 13, 19 or 21, County Road 2 or even Highway 169 and see the trees are ablaze with red, yellow, gold, orange or a combination of them.

There have been times when I’m driving down one of the roads on a sun drenched day and I’ll see farmers out harvesting. The dirt being kicked up by the machinery, along with the sunlight, cause golden rays that are just glowing. Other times I’ll see farm machinery out late as the last rays of the sun are leaving the horizon and the lights of the combines are cutting through the gathering shadows.

Of course, it’s also the time of year when one day can be one of the last dog days with temperatures in the 80s and then the evening temps will drop and a person needs to pull out a light sweater. I have more than one memory of my family going camping in the fall and we had times like that. At night we’d build a fire and gather around. When I was a child, those evenings were used to make s’mores, trying to toast a marshmallow so it was a dark brown, before it burst into flames. There were those times when it did catch fire, I’d blow it out and still use it even if it was a little black. To me it was the flavor of the hot gooey marshmallow mixing with the chocolate as it was just starting to melt and the warmth spreading to the graham crackers.

It didn’t even have to be camping trips. Who else has memories of getting home on a crisp fall day and being told to go out and rake the leaves? The multicolored leaves were raked up in one or two big piles, only to be spread out as my siblings and I took a running start and jumped into them. For those who remember the stories of children getting injured by a stick hidden in the leaves, my family would usually check the leaves before we jumped in them. The leaves eventually did get raked back up and put into garbage bags. For me, there was more of a satisfaction in raking leaves when they were still dry and crisp. A sound of fall is the crunch of leaves as they are being raked up and pushed into a garbage bag. Raking them up when they were damp, moist and sticky took the fun out of it.

It is October and this column wouldn’t be complete if Halloween wasn’t mentioned. There are so many memories from that holiday. Like any children of the Midwest, my friends and I were much happier when the weather was just perfect for Trick-and-Treating. It was especially best when it was a warm fall day and evening, one where light long sleeve shirts and jeans could be worn under our costumes. We would be willing to go out when it was cold, even if there was some snow falling, but then our costumes had to be stretched over a jacket. I know that my parents wanted to get out as early as possible, because we would also drive around town to visit aunts, uncles and grandparents. Sometimes those visits would be short, other times the adults would start visiting and I remember starting to feel hot standing there in a jacket and a costume. I think more than once, my siblings and I would ask if we could leave and my parents would reply that it would be just a minute, although it hardly ever was. Even with that, it was worth it as we had candy that would last us for several days, if not a couple weeks.

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