1. My Birthday
I am certain that every detail that follows here is only heightened in my sense of enjoyment by the basic fact that I was accustomed in early life to associate each of them as occurring close to the celebration of my birth (Oct. 15). My parents always made this day special for me complete with a homemade cake or a particular toy (early on) or book (later on) that I really wished for. The timing of my birthday just so happened to easily include pumpkins, candy corn, the color orange and the sights of fall, so perhaps this is ultimately my foundational longing and enjoyment of this phenomenal time of year.
2. The Weather
Growing up in the Deep South the first real change in weather since summer is one that meets with a great welcoming. As the first cool breezes minus a few points in humidity begin to sweep through the land, deep breaths are enjoyed and smiles follow with the first chill of the season. Trees, grass, and blooming things all take on a different aroma. Though our seasonal change may not be as noticeable as other regions, it’s effect is perhaps a bit more drastic. All wait with baited breath to be able to see their breath after the first frost.
3. Flea Markets, Festivals and Fairs
It is the time of year that Southerners can actually come outdoors to play so they celebrate anything they can find worth celebrating. Though football and hunting season(s) seem to reign supreme, they can still find an excuse to have festivals in honor of big orange gourds and all kinds of food (particularly those with a German Heritage). In the hometown where I grew up, the historical association always sponsored a flea market the first weekend in October. I remember being fascinated with all the woodworked crafts, the many engines and antique tractors with their popping and whirring and faint smell of fuel as the old men and overalls sat in their comfy chairs waiting to tell you about them, seeing everyone you knew from church, school, and life in a matter of a half hour, and finding a few previously owned comic books. We also growing up made the trek to the nearby Washington Parish Fair over in Louisiana (even nearer with my present state in life) . There we encountered every type of farm animal imaginable (I am looking forward to the chickens with feathers on their feet), every morsel of something fried that exists (funnel cakes to pork rinds), a pioneer village (complete with hoop cheese and homemade cookies), and outdoor entertainment on the whole spectrum. My dad also always brought home a couple of boxes of salt water state fair taffy from the Mississippi state fair, yet another tangible (and digestible) sign that my favorite time of year was here.
Though already alluded to in number three, some of my favorite tastes of the season make their debut over the next few weeks. I enjoy particularly anything which includes pumpkin and cinnamon. I enjoyed my first pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks yesterday evening ( a later in life development, where I come from, we just have “coffee.”) I actually like candy corn, and the mallow pumpkins (perhaps my favorite seasonal candies). It’s time for sausage dogs and chili, soups, concession stand burgers and nachos, muffins, pumpkin pies, and fresh breads (particularly those with pumpkin). And don’t forget the boiled goober peas!
5. It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown!
Yes, it is time for my all time favorite short animated feature. Snoopy, Charlie Brown and the Peanut gang take us on a seasonal tale of the parody of belief. The show is packed with some of Schultz’s most voracious wit and is sure to have you cracking smiles. So take the time this year to join Linus in a sincere pumpkin patch and await the coming of the Great Pumpkin!
Many think of the spring as the time when birds chirp and bees buzz, but I fell in love with my wife in – October. So this time is for me and forevermore will be the most romantic time of year. Given my passion for the season, it is little wonder that my personal affections were also enlivened as we begin to become friends (and eventually FALL in love – quicker for me than her) around this time of year. There are many personal reflections here, but we will share them on our own, thanks!
7. Reformation Day! October 31 (ca. 1517)
Also a later in life development, this day is second in celebratory spirit for me to my birthday this month if not very close to on par. You can keep your candy and costumes, give me a mallet and the word of God! As a lover of history , here I get the opportunity to celebrate my favorite personality, Martin Luther. This larger than life monk turned theology professor that threw the spark in the powder keg (or bier keg) by his nailing of his 95 theses to the door of the castle church in Wittenburg, Germany is a year long obsession for me, but on this day I have an excuse. Even moreso than this is the celebration of being Protestant and celebrating the central doctrines of scripture alone, faith alone, grace alone, Christ alone and the Glory of God Alone. I will be watching the Luther movie and singing ‘A Mighty Fortress’ at the top of my lungs. Join in the celebration, or watch out!