The autumnal equinox was two months ago, but only this week, the week of Thanksgiving, has fall, or more precisely, something a person who has spent most of his falls in western Pennsylvania and northeast Ohio would recognize as fall, come to west Georgia. How is a Yankee transplant supposed to feel fall in the air when on the day before Halloween the landscaping people filled Covenant Woods' flower beds with pansies in bloom? To the veteran gardener that may be the normal, the proper, the seasonal thing to do. To the horticulturally challenged, however, the pansies look like a variety of petunia and give rise to questions such as, do the kids have Little League tonight?
The trees have been shedding their leaves ever so slowly for several weeks. While most trees still have nearly all their leaves, there are enough naked ones now to give a fallish cast to things. And most of the remaining leaves are turning. The fall colors are nothing to write home about, but they are sorta colorful and give rise to thoughts of apple cider.
On Sunday, the last day of November, clad in a short-sleeve shirt, I took an afternoon spin around Covenant Woods. The sun was shining, and the thermometer was flirting with seventy. Down in the duplexes, Millie was sitting on the bench on her front porch.
"I'm tired." she said.
"I just got back home. I went up to Bowling Green, Kentucky, for Thanksgiving. I have two grandsons who live there. That is where they went to college. They fell in love with the area, and they both stayed there."
"There must have been some great-grandchildren around, too."
"Of course. I had four children, and they had eight children. I've lost count of how many kids they've had. My one grandson has a little girl who is a year old. I told him, maybe it's time to stop. I hope they don't. All the kids keep me young."
I spent Thanksgiving with Karen and Russ. They split the cooking duties, with Karen concentrating on the pork loin, and Russ baking the mince pie for dessert. It was all very good, and I enjoyed spending the afternoon at their place. I've also enjoyed the leftovers they sent home with me.
On the Thursday before Thanksgiving, a group of us from Covenant Woods went to the Columbus Museum's Third Thursday program. I had a hard time sitting through it. The program, which was folk dance music from the 17th and 18th centuries, wasn't what I expected. A pianist, flutist and violinist provided wonderful music. There just wasn't enough of it. Besides the musicians there was also a dance instructor, who walked interested audience members through the dances that went with the music. For each dance, those of us who didn't dance had to sit through ten minutes of instruction in order to hear two minutes of music.
But that wasn't the problem. Nor was the food. As it does every month, the museum set out a buffet of wonderfully delicious finger foods. No, the problem was my legs. They are always stiff, but Thursday they were cramping up, aching and making me uncomfortable. To ease the discomfort, I went to the upper level, where I could use the railing to pull myself up and lean against as I watched the program.
The aches and stiffness were back Saturday afternoon, and with them, memories of Thursday's discomfort filled my otherwise empty mind. And I was tired. Thinking it might help, I made a cup of coffee. It might have helped if I hadn't spilled most of it all over me. I had to make a decision: should I go to the Springer Opera House to see Della's Diner for which I'd spent twenty dollars for a ticket, or should I stay home and rest. As with all decisions, I put off making it as long as I could.
Finally at dinner, as I watched the theater-goers gather in the lobby, I concluded that staying at home was the wiser choice and went to tell Penelope I wouldn't be going. She asked why. I told her. Then she said Elsie and James needed a ticket, would I give them mine. Happy to have the opportunity to be a good-deed doer, I said yes.
It seemed strange that Elsie and James had purchased only one ticket, but I didn't ask why. Monday I saw Elsie in the dining room, and she told me why. She and James thought the bus was to leave for the Springer at five, and they were in the lobby waiting at quarter of five. A half hour later they asked Sarah, who was working the desk, if they'd missed the bus. "No," Sarah said. "It's supposed to leave at six-thirty."
James, who has a variety of ailments, was upset. He said he wasn't going to go to the show and went back to their apartment. A few minutes later, Betty wandered into the lobby and said how disappointed she was that she didn't signup for the trip to the Springer. "Here," Elsie said. "I have an extra ticket you can use." Then, as if on cue, James strode into the lobby and told Elsie he'd changed his mind; he was going to the show. At this point the script called for several minutes of hand wringing and the endless mumbling of "Whatever shall we do?" Eventually, with the strains of the Mighty Mouse theme - "Here he comes to save the day..." - echoing in the background, I arrived to save the day.
A deer with the temerity to wonder around near the Pratt residence met its fate at the end of Beth's rifle. I don't know about such things, but Beth said that westerners would say she got a five-point buck. Hunters in the East, however, would call it a ten-point buck. In any event, she threw down the gauntlet. "Let's see you beat that," she told Ken, or words to that effect.
They spent a recent weekend butchering the beast. Using every useable part of the buck, they filled their freezer. Their cache includes several gallons of dog food for their canine friends.
I told Randy about Beth and the buck. "I used to hunt," he said. "Anymore, I just take my pistols - I've got a .40 and a .45 - and go find a tree stand. A few years ago, me and my then wife lived on twenty acres over in Alabama, and I had a tree stand there. I went out one night and drank a bunch of beer. In the morning, four or five squirrels were trying to get up the tree. I got the pistols and started firing away - bam, bam,bam. When I got home, my wife said she'd heard me shooting and asked if I got anything. 'No,' I told her, ' but those damn squirrels won't bother me again.'"
A woman walking through the dining room to pick up her mother's dinner, sparked the following conversation today:
Ron: "Was that a man or a woman?"
Burt: "With those boobs, it better be a woman."
Ron: "Well, then she's the ugliest god damned woman I've ever seen."
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