Friday, September 27, 2013

Memories of Simplicity

It always comes, even though through those hazy summer months that wring me out and leave me wondering if it will be ninety degrees forever. Fall always comes. It comes to me with a subtle awakening in my spirit and the promise in those cooler late summer nights. I feel the need to sweep my house clean, put everything in order, and dig out the leafy wreaths and candles smelling of cider and pumpkin pie. I don't love winter, exactly, and I would be ok if Christmas were still six months away. Fall, however, can come and stay with it's golden afternoons and new perspectives.

Surely some of the good feelings we have as adults grow from our fond experiences as children. So many of those memories that I have revolve around my grandparents, our family having been fortunate enough to be so close to them. I remember my Grandmother decorating the house for every occasion. I know she made some of my early Halloween costumes-a clown and a black cat are two of those that I remember. Then she would bring out her Fall and Halloween decorations. One that I vividly remember was a wax skull candle, with a friendly expression of course because everything was more friendly back then, that would sit on her coffee table. I would dig out my favorite Childcraft volume-the one that gave you ideas about making your own costume and make my own version of dress up.

Of course then my sister, brother, and I would pile in the car while my mom drove us around town to collect candy. She would drive to a neighborhood and we would run from house to house, meeting up with her down the street because, of course, back then you could do that. We lived in a small town and we would inevitably visit the houses of school principals and Sunday School teachers. We would give our Halloween greetings and thank-yous to the the Ferrells and the Roses while collecting our candy and moving on to the next house. And this was all before suppertime.

One of the best events of the season was, of course, Thanksgiving. My grandparents' house (wherever else would we go) was the gathering place for the days leading up to Thursday. Turkeys and pies and the fruit tea were made. The dressing-we called it dressing, not stuffing-was prepared and we all headed out to gather with cousins and aunts and uncles for our Thanksgiving lunch. There were so many of us that we usually met at a community center for our meal. It was definitely a different Thanksgiving experience but, looking back, I am so thankful for those times and family and sense of heritage. I'm thankful for those memories of simplicity.

Only after Thanksgiving would we even start to think about Christmas. I'm sure there were after Thanksgiving sales, but I can't remember the Black Friday madness that exists now. (Does this make me sound old?) It is shocking, and kind of sad, that stores start stocking Christmas items while it's still September. Do they really get that much of a jump on sales?? I have come to the conclusion that the holidays, for our family, can only be what we allow them to be. It's easy to get caught up in the "must have for Fall" or "must have for _____" temptations that come with these next few months. Instead, I want to enjoy each beautiful Fall day, cherish the days at home with my family, and make memories of simplicity that our children will always remember.

Haha. That was way more than I set out to write. It just kept coming. Here's a photo of me, dressed up as "Tom" from Tom and Jerry many Halloween moons ago. :) Happy Fall!

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