October started it all off with Halloween, and we saw the decorations and candy in the stores before school had barely started. It used to be Halloween was just for kids, except for the popcorn balls and stuff we got that we didn’t like and gave to our parents, or they just took it when we weren’t looking! Remember those awful plastic masks with the elastic string to hold it on we used to wear? They were so hot, you felt like you were melting underneath them, but we’d do it all again the next year, just to get those little Snickers and Milky Ways, wouldn’t we? Things have changed a lot since then. The costumes are more comfortable, and most kids have a different one every year. I wore that plastic Princess mask every Halloween and was happy to have it. Someone who was out with their child trick-or-treating Saturday night told me they saw more adults in costumes on the street than kids! Oh, I think it’s a cute thing to dress up with your little ones, as I’m sure they get a kick out of seeing Mom & Dad wearing a costume, but have you seen some of the costumes? Adults aren’t just dressing up as witches and vampires all in black with pointed hats and fake fangs these days. Now they are wearing costumes that even scare other adults, let alone the kids they meet on the street, and that’s just in a small town. I can’t imagine how scary it is in the bigger cities.
November brings in the last full month of Autumn, and we see the bare branches on most the trees by the end of the month. When I was a kid in grade school, we were making turkeys out of colored construction paper and learning about the pilgrims the entire month. I still have some of those cute turkeys and pilgrim’s hats my kids made in their elementary days at Marnie Simons. It seems like only yesterday that my fridge was covered with their creations. My, how times flies! We start off November looking up new recipes or digging out the old favorites to make on the last Thursday of the month. A lot of people complain about the holidays being too commercialized these days, and I agree, except for Thanksgiving. It kind of gets lost in the shuffle, because the only thing that you actually purchase for that holiday is food – no costumes or gifts to be advertised for us to spend our hard-earned money on. I kind of like that. Knowing that there is still one holiday, and it’s only an American holiday, that refuses to cater to the big business of buying and selling. It just quietly rolls around each year, and we find ourselves sitting around a dinner table with family and friends, enjoying our favorite dishes and talking about what’s gone on in our lives over the past 12 months. It’s the “family” holiday where we just get together because we want to, no stress over buying gifts or whether they like what we give them, just being together and enjoying one another’s company, and oh yeah, some football games are usually thrown in while we sit around the living room and groan about having ate too much! Of course, everyone always has some room for pumpkin pie later on in the afternoon before heading back to their respective homes. For many, they are thinking of getting up early for the Black Friday sales the next day to jump-start their Christmas shopping, but I think a lot are just being thankful to still have that parent or grandparent around to share one more holiday with. I’m sure there are many like myself who feels sad about the empty chair at the table, but so grateful for all the wonderful memories that keeps them alive in our hearts. For this month of November, let’s remember the ones we’ve lost, enjoy the time left with the ones we still have, and be thankful for life on the back roads for one more year.
– Debbie Dovel