Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Fall- Day One

Despite the fact that its the first day of Fall, we're having a summer time meal - spare ribs on the grill, tater salad and devil-ed eggs! It's Florida remember? We're still in the high 80's or lower 90's round here for at least another two or three weeks....We'll still be eating summer fare for all of those weeks, but I'm getting excited anyway.....

Despite the fact that my pumpkin patch got eaten up by some kind of pest (that seemed to have left my Roma and Better Boy fall crop of tomatoes alone), I'm ready for fall to arrive. I've been going through magazines and cookbooks for crock pot meals and big pot on the stove soups. I love cooking in the winter......I love that you can start dinner so early that you enjoy the smells as you putter through the other daily chores and that as the kiddos and the hubby come in from their day away, they walk into a home that smells delicious.

Part of why I love providing that sense of homecoming connected to a season and a scent is based upon one year of my own childhood. My ninth grade year of high school was spent in an old farmhouse that my folks were renovating in Ohio. My little sister Amy was born that year and my oldest brother had just turned 18 and was preparing to go out on his own. It is a year that held both joy and heartache for our family but it is one that is stuck indelibly in my heart and mind.

My high school was over-crowded and there was no funding to build a new one; the school board decided that they would split the day to accommodate the student body - 9th and 10th graders went to school from noon to 6 p.m. and the older grades took up the 6 - 12 a.m. slot. I loved it.

Even then I was a night person, so sleeping in was very nice; there was the added bonus of being there in the mornings with just my mom and my baby sister. Most of our school activities took place in the mornings - rehearsals for talent shows, concerts etc, but these were at the most once a week or even on a time limited basis. But the best part was getting off the bus in the evenings.....

Going to the bus stop each day was filled with the afternoon sun's warmth while arrival back at around 6:30 p.m. meant that the sun was down and house lights were on. As I walked across the fields to our old farmhouse, I could see my mom in the steamed windows and in the warm light of our big country kitchen. My belly was always empty as we went straight through classes with no breaks. There was so something peaceful and reassuring about the sight of those steamed windows that I would pick up my pace not so much because of the cold but because I was so ready to open that back door and enter into the heart of our home. As I pushed open the door I'd be met with the excited yapping of two poodles and the big smile of an infant sister and the laughter usually centering around the antics of the younger brother (sometimes scooting that baby around the floor on some kind of makeshift something or other that he'd come up with...). Mom would quietly turn and welcome me in as I heard the evening news on the telly in the living room where my dad and older brother were usually sitting. I'd hang up my coat and stash my books and we'd set the table and soon, we'd all be sitting together and discussing our day.....

I've never forgotten entering that old farmhouse during that fall and winter...I've never forgotten just how anything upsetting that had occurred during my time away from that house just simply faded away as I walked across those fields and anticipated the sights and the sounds that were waiting for me just inside that back door.

While summer is great and nothing tastes better than food grilled outside and served with a fresh salad and just baked French or Italian bread, the fact that my kiddos and my hubby enter a warm kitchen filled with the scent of something that has been cooking for hours will always have my heart yearning for Fall and Winter evenings a month or so into the heat of those long summer days.

Here's to shorter days, steamed windows and the sound of that back door opening and the words "oh, that smells wonderful"...........


  1. What a beautiful memory you painted with your words for us today....and I hope my kids can have those to look back upon when they're raising their own families. Steamed up windows and yummy smells...entering into the "heart" of the home...all those are what we bequeath our kids, too!

  2. During our 22 years of sub-division living, that back door entry was one of the things I missed most. I truly disliked entering through the garage or front door of our home as if we were formal visitors.....I love that here, in this old farmhouse, the back door once again means what it used to mean....family and invited friends enter straight into the heart of it all....


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