Monday, October 28, 2013

I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers

Newest column from The Holmes Bargain Hunter:

Fall is simply the best time to gather your loved ones and hop in the car for a little ride. The leaves are bursting with color, the air is pleasantly cool, and you just need to get outdoors. When I was young, we took lots of car rides down winding back roads. You never quite knew where you would end up, but it never mattered because each turn and patch of woods we traveled through was more magical than the last one. Deep hollows, ridges splashed with the fire of stately trees, and huge rocks you could climb all the way to the top on. We would stop, sometimes, and walk around. Leaves, rocks, small sticks found their way into my pockets and would be carefully placed in my box of treasures when I got home. Usually, we would end up where there was ice cream, and a cone with big drips down the side found its way into my hands.

Here in NE Ohio, fall has a bounty of things to take part in. But fall, especially fall, is when Ohio becomes ethereal in its beauty. I was driving home the other day from a shopping trip and I took the time to soak in the beauty of the fall trees. Fog was drifting in slowly, and the trees were not quite to their point of brilliance for the season. Our rolling hills were so beautiful, and sometimes it takes leaving here to really appreciate them. My daughter, who has lived in Florida for the last four years, tweeted something that went like this, “I hope it rains all day so I can be cozy and smell this pumpkin candle and pretend it's actually fall here.” She loves where she lives but when you grow up with the four seasons it’s hard to get adjusted to fall being hot and humid. For myself, I would simply shrivel up in a corner if I couldn’t breathe fall’s nippy face.

Pumpkin patches, corn mazes, and haunted attractions are a few of the things one can take part in when the fall season comes around. We live right across from a corn maze, so I smell the smoke from their soup pot boiling away across a fire, savory blend of beans and ham. The whoosh of the pumpkin launcher reaches me daily, as do the shrieks of delight from kids on the giant slide. The corn maze itself seems huge to me this year, spreading its vast self out over acres, the rustling of dried corn stalks blowing gently. These kinds of places do charge a fee to get in so be prepared to shell out for your chance to run through the maze.

I also must take the time to buy pumpkins for my porch, for what would it be without those wonderful, orbs of orange? As October 31st nears, my kids and I carve them into grinning faces to be lit with a candle for passers-by to see. It’s a tradition that I will never stop, even when my kids are long gone. Pumpkin-carving is a rite of fall for me. Over the years the beloved pumpkin has taken a hike in price so I may not have as many of the huge ones, and I’m a bit more selective in choosing them. I like to get the ones the sit plump and square – ones I know will grin spectacularly in the twilight.

A lot of people don’t like haunted attractions and shun them with a voracity that puzzles me still. For us, it is also part and parcel of fall. Read this post

I wrote from several years ago to get an idea of what trick or treating was like in Berlin long ago. I miss it still. We’ve taken many a spooky ride through Panther Hollow and to the Headless Angel. It’s part of mine and my kids growing up years. As they got older we would sometimes visit “haunted” corn mazes or hayrides, and older still, visits to The Mansfield Reformatory. There is nothing like a good, spirited chill down your spine. What you make of it is your choice. As for us, it’s something we love to do and the thrill of it never falters. Just this past Friday, October 11, it was my birthday and we headed over to the magnificent Mansfield Reformatory. Chills were to be had around every corner, but I still took the time to stop and marvel at the architecture of the place. We were breathless with excitement until we emerged and will continue to go every year until I can walk no longer. The price of these attractions can be steep – the reformatory was $17 to enter – but we spend more than that on pizza some weekends so if it’s something you’re interested in than I highly recommend it.

Fall is an amazing time here in Ohio. Get out in it. Breathe deeply of the fires that are burning leaves, take the time to sit and stare at the majestic trees, and remember that as far away as you may roam – October still remains in your heart as you knew it from home.

“There is something in October sets the gypsy blood astir: We must rise and follow her, when from every hill of flame She calls, and calls each vagabond by name.” –William Bliss