Monday, November 17, 2014

Ushering November in right ~ my column from Sunday's paper

We had a cookout on the first day of November. It just didn’t seem right that Halloween fell on Friday night and the following day, the kids were still cranked on high fructose corn syrup and their costumes were barely wrinkled. Halloween should definitely be a two-day holiday.

Jilda realized the opportunity a month or so before the end of October and started making plans. Its seems most of the parents were excited about such an event because it would be an opportunity for the kids to run off some of the sugar buzz left over from Halloween.

A call to our niece who is all about fun with the kids was in, and started ordering outside games for kids to play. I’m sure her credit card holders were smiling.

Our nephew Haven was all for it too. This was important too because he has the tractor and trailer we needed for the hayride.

Soon the commitments began rolling in. Jordan, his friends and cousins were excited.

The morning of the hayride, I gathered a truckload of oak and hickory from behind the barn to feed the fire pit. I put fresh charcoal in the grill and took another swipe at sweeping the deck even though I knew by party time it would be thick as a 1970s shag carpet with dried leaves and acorns.

That afternoon, Jilda put on a percolator of hot apple cider. If you’ve never smelled the blending of scents from vases of fresh flowers and brewing hot cider, you still have something to live for. There’s nothing better on a cool autumn afternoon than a cup of warm cider.

The weather was perfect. It was cool in the shade, so the grownups kept moving chaise loungers and chairs to keep them in the afternoon sun, which felt warm to the skin.

The fire pit was a great addition to our yard because the hardwood logs added an almost subliminal soundtrack as they snapped and crackled.

The kids would play until their hands got cold then run up to warm their hands over the fire before darting off to meet the next challenge.

Ella, one of Jordan’s friends from first grade came and stood close to me with her back to the fire warming her legs. I could smell the aroma of wood smoke in her hair and sweater.

It was that kind of day.

When the kids were about to spew from eating hot dogs, s’mores and leftover candy, it was time for the hayride.

Haven fired up the hay-strewn tractor and pulled it up the back of the fence. The trailer quickly filled with kids, grownups, and dogs that weren’t about to miss the excitement.

The tractor slowly puttered down around the barn and up the driveway that is lined with oak, hickory and pine. This time of year the foliage creates a colorful canopy reminiscent of the Old South.

The kids made a game of snagging scarlet and amber leaves as we passed.

When we were almost back to the gate, Haven steered the tractor under our apple tree.

His wife, Alesha, hopped into the tractor bucket, and he lifted her to the upper branches where a few choice apples were hiding. She picked one for all the kids and grownups and a few left over for an apple pie. Ella’s mom later commented on Facebook it was the best apple she’d ever eaten.

By the time everyone left, Jilda and I were whupped, but it was one of those memorable days. We hope the kids that came will remember it with fondness too.


  1. Awe Rick this sounds like a wonderful day that I'm sure all will remember... :-)

  2. It sounds like a perfect day. The kidlets will remember it always.. and probably ask for a repeat each year.

  3. I have a big smile on my face. Wonderful memories were made.

  4. "Rick Watson" has been included in the fourteenth edition of our November Nudges series. Be assured that we hope this helps to send many new customers your way.

  5. Anonymous9:40 AM

    I wish I could have been there with you!!

  6. What a wonderful day and such a wonderful memory for everyone! It sounds like so much this idea!

  7. Making memories is a beautiful business on earth.

    Taking beautiful pictures adds so much, and this one supports one beautiful story.

  8. I would have loved to experience all this. I've never been on a hayride.

  9. Ach! You did such a nice thing!!
    I love hay rides and yes this will be a very memorable event!!!

  10. Sounds like you had an awesome time!

  11. I can practically smell the hickory and cider! Personally, I can't think of any fancy venue that would feel half as pleasing.

  12. It must have made the kids very happy. A great tradition and a way to keep family together.
    Have a great day


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