Fall means Halloween, Thanksgiving and the lead up to Christmas. It means a respite from the doldrums of the muggy and oppressive days of August. I look forward to the classic Charlie Brown Halloween and Thanksgiving shows and I always play the Vince Guaraldi soundtracks. His themes are perfectly evocative of autumn. The drawback to fall is that it can get overcast (and stay overcast) and become cold and rainy. The remedies are hot drinks or a pipe full of aromatic tobacco. I don’t know why it is, but no matter how cheerless or bone-chilling it is outside, a pipe warms the spirit. A cigarette or cigar really don’t have the same effect. But many fall days are blessed with brisk and sunny weather, which are perfect for hikes in the woods or the Civil War battlefields that surround Richmond.
My family celebrates the kind of Halloween that I remember as a small child. It’s not an adult themed occasion, zombie-fest, or neo-pagan rival to the Nativity. It’s about candy and fun costumes (often homemade) and entertaining (not shocking) horror films like Bela Lugosi’s Dracula or Disney’s Legend of Sleepy Hollow. I’ve also come to appreciate Thanksgiving more with age. It’s a nice precursor to Advent, with good food and drinks. We put up turkey-themed decorations, which these days most people skip in favor of Christmas trimmings in the middle of November.
Fall and spring are the best seasons in the South. Winter admittedly doesn’t quite measure up, simply because we don’t get enough snow to make the frigid weather seem worthwhile. So after December one just feels like hibernating until April. But here’s praying for a white Christmas!