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Fall brings changes and memories

By By Lisa Tindell, Managing editor
It might not officially be fall yet, but when school starts back, I can't help but feel that fall has arrived.
There must be something about the smell of new plastic notebooks, fresh crayons and newly sharpened pencils that have my senses telling me of the changing season.
The first few days of school are exciting no matter what grade you are in. You'll see mothers crying as their kindergarten, or in my case, pre-school children walk away to their first day of a new learning experience. My son hasn't yet had his first day at pre-school, but I know in my heart that Ms. Carolyn will take care of him once he walks through the classroom door.
Not only is the beginning of school a sign of fall to me, but the thuds and cracks I hear as football players scrimmage on the field. The pounding of the drums and the blaring of trumpets also signify the return of outdoor activities. The warm fall nights at a football game have long since replaced the nights of blankets and hot chocolate at most events.
Some memories are also called up when my thoughts turn to fall.
When is the last time we sat on the front porch and listened to the crickets chirp or watch a nice sunset? I'll bet many of us have only faint memories of what a lightning bug, or firefly, even looks like. I do remember, however, that these glowing creatures seem to put of an assortment of colors and are very elusive.
I can remember that fall always brought about an excitement throughout my extended family. It seems that most of my family is against weather that would cause one to melt. We didn't have a lot of get togethers with cousins, aunts and uncles during the summer when I was growing up. But when the fall came, out came the lawn chairs and barbecue grills on a regular basis.
My memories of fall with cousins and neighbor children include rousing games of "Red Rover" "Mother May I" and the popular "Hide 'N Seek."
Kids don't play these games any more. It's truly sad, but I can't think of any exceptions to that rule. I couldn't really even tell you the last time I saw my cousins or the neighbor children.
I am a fall person, it's my favorite season (next to Christmas) of the year. And, after discussing this with some of my co-workers, I'm beginning to think I'm in a minority.
One co-worker told me she didn't like fall because that's when everything dies. She also said that she gets cold in October and doesn't get warm again until some time in June.
Well, my philosophy is "you can always put on enough clothes to get warm, but you can't take off enough to get cool." And since the heat in South Alabama is usually coupled with high humidity levels, you don't just sweat, you drip. At least that's the way another co-worker put it.
So fall is a welcome change. It brings about the promise of our days cooling down a little and our evenings become a little more comfortable for those evening strolls. It also brings the falling of leaves and pine needles, which offer wonderful opportunities for families to work together or at least give a neighborhood child a chance to make a few dollars.
This fall I plan to take a little more time for my family and myself.
We'll attend a few more football games and root for the home team every chance we get and cheer for the band's wonderful half-time performance.
We'll take more time to sit on the front porch with a cool glass of sweet tea.
I'll get out the old mayonnaise jar and punch a few holes in the lid. Then, I hope, I can teach my son the wonders of the almost forgotten lightning bug and the special rules for "Mother May I."
Welcome fall, even if it is a little bit early.