This is why I love my town of Corinth, Miss.: There is a gorgeous house literally on every corner. I was walking around recently in that lovely winter-is-on-its-way autumn twilight — which, this being Mississippi, means a drop in temperature from 95 degrees to 50-something — and found myself in front of this home. The combination of the scrolling black iron fence with the soft orange decor against the darkening sky was a perfect Halloween moment, even if this was a couple of days past Oct. 31. I’ll take it, though. And of course I want to know how the gourds in the urns on either side of the door remain perfectly stacked: Glue? Gravity? Zenful balance? This being Corinth and Mississippi, I probably could simply walk up the steps and knock on the door and ask. But I think I’ll preserve the mystery.
I love these pumpkins I spied on a morning walk around the neighborhood today. I mean, somebody just took ribbon and paint or markers and created something different and eye-catching. Actually, these look like they were originally party decorations — maybe for a dance or a dinner or something involving a school with black and gold colors (Vanderbilt?) — and got re-purposed. And now I’m wondering what sort of party it was and where it was and what I would have worn IF I had been invited and would my husband have been able to come and who was was there and why was I NOT invited? No matter that I have no idea who lives here or if they’re the sort of folks who throw good parties and so maybe I wouldn’t even have WANTED to go to their silly little party anyway, so there. But they do know their way around pumpkins. And I obviously have way too much time on my hands.
Everybody here in the South agrees that this is one of the best falls ever. Usuallyf we go straight from summer into winter, but this year we’ve actually had the warm days & cool nights of autumn. The leaves are getting gorgeous, but there are other signs of fall. Such as scarecrows, as pictured on the left. And you thought that was a photo of me on my daily walk through the forest! You should know that I never would pair red devil horns with a red handbag AND red shoes — too matchy-match. No, this actually is “The Devil Wears Prada”‘s Miranda Priestly on the Huntsville Botanical Garden‘s annual Scarecrow Trail. Created by the Women’s Business Center of North Alabama, Ms. Scarecrow Priestly accessories her Halloween look with a zebra-print blazer — and until only a year or so ago I owned an almost identical blazer. You know you need a closet redo when your outfits show up on a devil scarecrow — albeit a stylish one. Fall also is the time when autumnal art work shows up on refrigerators. It’s been a long dry spell between our now 20-something-year-old daughters bringing home their falling-leaves pictures and our 3 1/2-year-old grandson Capt. Adorable adding to the collection. The Captain stayed with Husband JP and I a few days ago, and
I went through his backpack a couple of his papers from Spanish class fell out of his backpack, so I claimed them. To finish off the refrigerator decor, Capt. Adorable arranged the alphabet magnets into a train, which I thought was very creative and brilliant of him. Genius baby!
Yay! I’ve got my laptop back. It’s all fast & speedy and, as 3 1/2 year-old grandson Capt. Adorable says, “I missed it soooo much.” I know I could have written a blog entry on any of the other computers I used while my laptop was in Computer Hospital (thanks, Husband JP, for patiently ignoring the coffee stains & bagel crumbs I left on yours) but it just wasn’t the same. My laptop understands me. We get each other’s quirks. I know the “j” key gets stuck, and my laptop knows I can’t spell “camouflage” — an essential word here in Mississippi — without help. We’re a team.
And it was a team effort (how’s that for a smooth segue?) that pulled off a recent bridal luncheon I went to at The Club, a venerated icon of Birmingham, Ala. This is what happens when you know people who know people — you get invited to fancy places. Luckily, the folks I know who hang out at The Club aren’t really fancy — they were just sort of brought up that way — so everybody’s comfortable and casual and has a great time. I loved the table decor for the bridal luncheon – the little pumpkins were place-cards and had each guest’s name written on them. The centerpieces were perfect, and the touches of fall throughout the room only enhanced the gorgeous view of Birmingham we could admire through the huge windows. The food was delicious and — most importantly — the party was a blast. This luncheon was for the daughter of one of my good friends. They used to live around the corner from us, and I watched her, her sister and my two daughters and their friends grow up into the strong, beautiful, talented, kind, smart and awesomely wonderful young women they are today. Who have really fun bridal luncheons.
Oh you silly people who thought that just because the calendar says “July” we are still in summer. Wrong! It apparently is time to start counting your orange napkins and trying to remember where you put the box of jack-o-lantern lights and, hey, how long can leftover Halloween candy stay in the freezer anyway? I’d heard rumors that a few craft retailers were in holiday mode already — Christmas truly is in July at Hobby Lobby — but that seems reasonable to me when you’re talking about getting a head start on handcrafting your memories. However, I’m just not sure I’m ready to start shopping for fall decor yet. I mean, I haven’t even worn all my summer clothes yet. Even the employees at this Cracker Barrel seemed embarrassed. “We’ve got some Thanksgiving things over there,” one whispered, grimacing, “and I hear Christmas is coming next week.” Oh, dear. Actually, my main concern is not the ever-earlier starting bell for holiday spending but a deep dismay that fall coming to Cracker Barrel means that the seasonal summer specials soon will be gone and my new favorite breakfast of Blueberry Streusel French Toast will be … well, toast. Have you had this yet? I’m telling you, it’s like the warmest freshest blueberry muffin/doughnut/pancake/pastry/pie ever. Ever. Go get some. Right now. Just please don’t bring back a black-cat coffee mug. Until late September, at least.
I don’t want to sound all grumpy and old — I mean, I know who Monsters of Folk are, after all — but aren’t we rushing the holidays just a little bit? Look, it’s only early November, but I’ve already seen enough Christmas-shopping commercials and front-door Christmas wreaths to last me through December. And the thing is that I love the holidays. I am definitely a Christmas kind of girl. I believe you can never have enough wassail and frankincense and festive good cheer, not to mention yummy food, fun parties and presents for all. It’s just that I also am a fall kind of person. I love autumn leaves and pumpkins and brown and orange sweaters. I adore warm days and cool nights and those lovely 5 p.m. sunsets. And I know, I know — stores started selling Halloween merchandise in August so technically we’ve had enough time to celebrate fall. But, still, it’s the first week of November. I’m just not ready to flip the switch to Christmas yet — particularly since that means Thanksgiving gets sort of lost. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays — you get all the fun without any of the pressure. What’s not to like about that? This arrangement I saw in a Tupelo, Mississippi, hotel lobby this past week would make the perfect Thanksgiving decoration — although it’s probably gone by now and replaced by a Christmas tree. Sigh. And, really, why fight it? I have been thinking about going ahead and unearthing the holiday CDs that every year I put away so carefully so I can find them easily the next year, which never works, of course. It usually takes me a couple weeks to track them down, so that should be about right. Feliz Navidad!
October truly is my favorite month. Who can resist 31 days of family fun, gorgeous weather, marching band half-time shows endless football games and pumpkins everywhere you look? Not to mention free candy just for the asking! Could it get any better??? Read more about why October is on my best-ever list at my weekly newspaper column for the TimesDaily in Florence, Alabama: http://www.timesdaily.com/article/20091016/ARTICLES/910165000
I got to go to a pumpkin farm for the first time ever this past week — and I loved it! When my now 20-something daughters were little, agri-tourism had not yet made the news and farms were something you wanted to get away from, not pay money to spend an afternoon there. But at 18 months, grandson Capt. Adorable is ready this fall for his first pumpkin experience and I was lucky enough to go along with him and his mom and dad. We visited Tate Farms in Meridianville, Alabama (on the east side of Huntsville) and as soon as we stepped out of the car, the Captain was wriggling with delight. It was like the wide open running spaces, inviting playground equipment, oh-so-cute baby animals and piles of brightly colored pumpkins and gourds had been created just for him. In fact, he was in such constant motion, I had a hard time getting photos — he hasn’t quite grasped the notion of photo ops yet. At the Pumpkin Shack that was set up for proud-parent and -grandparent photos, he was more interested in dismantling the rows of pumpkins than in posing for the camera. But Grandma snapped away, anyway! Find out more about Tate Farms at http://www.tatefarmspumpkins.com/