Autumn-time in the Country

Southwestern Arkansas is a long ways from being the beautiful Ozarks, but I think where I grew up is beautiful for the simple fact that it is home. We certainly didn’t see the changing of the colors (in other words, Autumn-time isn’t that pronounced in taking off its bright, summer garbs and dressing in the glowing colors of the Ozarks), but there was enough color to appreciate this time of the year.

Now, one thing I didn’t particularly like about fall is that cotton was ripe and ready for the pickin’. It’s still hot in Southern Arkansas in September and October, and (after school) cotton fields awaited us kids to help Mom and Dad finish off their work day. For now, I’ll leave that in the fields.

It’s always fascinating when seasons change, and it appears autumn has the most pronounced change with it kaleidoscope of colors and all the delicious fruit that announce that Summer is a byword. In the Fall, my Dad would drive us back in the woods (to some homesteader’s long abandoned land) to pick pears. This one tree had more pears than I’d ever seen in my life. I’m not particularly fond of this fruit, but Mother Nature (or Father Nature) just simply dropped them on the ground, so we just simply picked them up.

Then, I remember my parents (who were seasonal migrant farm workers) coming back from up North in the big truck they’d driven to the Tomato Harvest. Someone along the way, they picked the best apples (I can still taste them now) I’ve ever eaten. I don’t know who the truck belonged to, but my Dad kept it for a while, and when it was parked in our yard, I scavenged it to find all the apples I could. Happy hunting!

At this time of year, we kids looked forward to (and longed for) new school clothes – especially for the first day of school. I’ve never figured this one out, but the first day of school, all the kids were expected to be dressed smartly. Perhaps it was a sign that their family had done a little better than they had the previous year. I don’t know for sure, but I always looked forward to the first day of school to see all the other kids’ pretty clothes. I don’t recall that I had anything that was particularly admirable.

When I was growing up, I never saw pictures of the Ozarks, New England, the Eastern coastal towns or other places that had brilliant autumn landscapes, so my area was the prettiest to me. The pines are forever green, but in the fall, they have a lot of competition from the sweet gum, oaks, and hickory nut trees.

By the way, October is my favorite month. It is nicely sandwiched between summer and winter, and its days are so warm, bright and beautiful. It’s not too hot nor too cold. It’s just right for anything you want to do outdoors, including hay rides and wiener roasts,  Our southern Arkansas autumn was what God gave us – even without the Ozark’s beauty.