Our deck overlooks a gnarly tree.
Gnarly but not like Spicoli’s “gnarly” (Fast Times at Ridgmont High).
More like Bill Pete gnarly (“Chester the Worldly Pig,” “The Caboose Who Got Loose.”)
Usually there are two Meadowlarks resting on some of the branches which are long dead and bare. We named the birds Lemon and Lime.
You may recall the famous Globetrotter Meadowlark Lemon.
Sunday the tree was full of at least a dozen birds.
“Doves,” my wife Kathy said.
“Aaaaahhhh. A sure sign that fall is in the air. They are hiding from the hunters,” I said as distant shotgun blasts frightened our dog Maggie.
Fall is Kathy’s favorite time of year.
The cooler autumn air brings with it several traditions.
Generally, that will involve a campfire for the traditional s’mores. Oh, we’ll throw some hotdogs on a stick just to make it look semi-healthy but what the family really wants are those gooey marshmallow, Hersey bar and Graham cracker treats.
Caramel apples using real caramel, not the wraps, and Granny Smith apples are other fall tasty treats at our house.
Fall will generally involve pumpkins which will later become Jack-‘o-lanterns.
Rushing to Lumber House on a Sunday afternoon looking for some mortar to touch up some rock that I have been putting upon the back of the house, I noticed mums on display.
Knowing that there is a spot in the front rock garden just waiting for mums, I snapped a photo of one.
“Interested?” I sent in a text to Kathy.
Did I really have to ask?
“Get six the same color,” was the reply.
“What color?” I asked
“Yellow or red.”
I had noticed there were about nine yellow mums that were already in bloom.
But by the time I got back into the store and grabbed a cart, I could load up only five.
I noticed someone walking out of the store with three yellow mums in hand.
Putting the five back, I loaded up what I thought were six red mums.
Only they were purple.
Putting the six purple mums back, I looked around for six red mums.
“Get the five yellow ones,” came another text.
Putting the six red mums back, I loaded up the five yellow mums and headed to checkout.
And the store was CLOSED.
Naturally before locking the doors, the staff noticed this old man struggling to buy mums, of all things, and were awaiting for me to finally make up my mind. Here’s to shopping locally.
While I was getting ready to pay, I apologized, saying I was looking for six yellow mums.
Lisa Peters, a fellow AHS classmate, went the extra mile and found us a sixth yellow mum, which now is nicely blooming in the rock garden.
We started a new tradition this year.
“Would you put up the Christmas tree?” Kathy asked the other day.
People who worked with Kathy at McKinley know that she likes to plan ahead. But it wasn’t even close to Thanksgiving! In fact, at the time, it wasn’t even Labor Day.
After initially being shocked, I vaguely recalled that for her birthday in February, Kathy had received fall ornaments from her mother, sister, and daughter — sunflowers, silk fall leaves, miniature pumpkins, an assortment of gourds, nuts, pinecones — for an autumn tree.
One less Christmas tree to put up when November does roll around.