Appalachian Autumn

by Mike Peters

It's always been my favorite time of year.  The reasons are many.

There are costumed children participating in the annual scavenger hunt for candy known as Halloween.  The best treasures were always the caramel popcorn balls and the candy bars.  Now it's check the kid's bags, toss out the apples and the popcorn balls. Smaller candy bars too.  I used to like the homemade costumes, the clever disguises where nobody recognized you.  I once went as Fidel Castro. Now it's go to the store and pick one off the rack.  Am I missing something here?  No, but I believe our children might be.

There is football.  For me it was go to the high school game on Friday and to the burger place later.  Hopefully, she'll be there.  Huddle around the black 'n white on Saturday and after Church on Sunday to watch your favorite college and professional teams play.  And don't forget Monday Night Football, that hasn't been the same since Howard Cosell or since "Dandy" Don Meredith sang his weekly, "Turn out the lights. The party's over" song. I used to listen to the game on my transistor radio under the sheets after my mother made me go to bed.  Definitely worth the spanking I could have received.

There is a special day of prayers.  Thank you God for I am truly blessed.  Our bounty is more than we deserve.  There is pumpkin pie with whipped cream, cranberry sauce and white turkey meat sandwiches following our 30 minute nap on the couch.  Make mine with a slice of cheese and a little mustard please. My favorite football team, the Dallas Cowboys, always play on that day.  Only two things ever spoiled my Thanksgiving, a gunshot fired from a "grassy knoll" and emphysema's knock out punch on my Grandpa Coleman.

My mother likes to take a drive through her native West Virginia every Fall.  It regenerates her.  She says that the leaves NOWHERE are as pretty as they are there.  I tend to believe her.  I've accompanied her many times on that trip through the art gallery of Appalachian's Autumn.  Nature stands beside her easel and brushes, slowly replacing the green of Spring with such wonderful color combinations on the canvas of hills, ridges, valleys and "hollers."  We get to witness this beauty for such a short time each year.  The drive also takes us home.

I was raking those leaves a few years back with a puppy and two little girls.  My two daughters were helping Dad rake. The dog was nipping at their heels with those sharp puppy teeth. There was a lot of giggling and barking. The three of them spent most of the time jumping, falling and rolling into the pile.  Shelby and Katelyn did little raking that day. It might have meant more work for Dad. But that was fine.  His girls were becoming art lovers.

Thanks for listening and as my Grandma Coleman used to say, "Ya'll come!"


Mike Peters

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