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by Tamara Hillman

October 2010

October the beautiful!

Doesn’t everyone agree?
What else does your mind race to when we approach the most glorious month of the year for its color? I love it! The whole kit and caboodle! The trees, harvest moon, high school football games, stubble left in the fields, wood chopped for winter, crisp-cool air, and yes, even Halloween! This month gives us a wide array of pleasures to the eye, and a reminiscent heart.

By now shoes are broken in from first school days, kids have settled into a routine, and ranchers and farmers are ending another harvest, and have their livestock moved to low pastures for winter.

I get homesick this time of year, and just by chance, this October we’ll be goin’ back to see those colors up north, and to visit family and friends. My oldest son, (not my oldest child) and wife Jen, are going to Hawaii for two weeks to celebrate their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary, (how’d they get so old?) He’s requested Pops and me to come up and baby-sit their two youngest teenage children. (Ya know, they are more of a handful at this age than as babies), but Darin also knows, if I could ride herd on him as a teen, I can do the same with these last two of his— I got my bluff in early with all my grandkids by telling them as soon as they could understand, “Nana spanks!” And I did with a few of ‘em too.

Anyway, my heart fills this time of year with the memories of fall on the farm when we’d rush home from school, change into play clothes, and hit the fields with our friends to play baseball with dried cow pie bases, or climb into the haylofts and swing out on ropes to then let go and fly into a soft landing below. We made slingshots, and tire swings, all kinds of fun stuff to entertain us before the snow flew about Halloween. It was rare if those white flakes weren’t driftin’ down by the time we were out trick or treating.

Oh, how I remember Halloween in those days when most moms and grandmas made homemade cupcakes, doughnuts, candies, apples, and such to drop into our meager brown paper bags that usually busted wide open at the bottom from the wet and cold before the evening was over…But we carried backups—ingenious little twerps that we were.
Too often those same type paper bags were our masks too, with a funny face drawn on the outside with crayon by Mom or Dad, and holes cut out for us to see thru’. No sense in having costumes either because they’d only be covered up with heavy coats and pants to keep us from freezing.
We didn’t play any dirty tricks when in grade school other than waxing a few windows of those folks we knew were meanies, and wouldn’t open the door to anyone, let alone on Halloween to a bunch of kids. Some we knew were just too poor to recognize the holiday, so we left them alone. There were lots more of these families, us being one of them, but Mom managed to give out some goodies every year while we roamed the neighborhood to find treats from others.
Now, I can’t say we didn’t do more tricks than treats in our teen years. We did do a few fun pranks then like stringing toilet paper across the bridge at one end, and watching from the ditch as cars tried to stop when they saw it and thought it was a rope or something. We dumped over a few outdoor privies, and toilet papered some yards, but never did anything really destructive.
I remember, some high school boys tied a goat outside the principal’s office overnight on the second floor of the fire escape one Halloween. Getting that billy goat up there was a lot of trouble, but worth the laughs and secrets kept after the fact. We all knew who did it, but loyalty to our mates was at the top of our priority list when it came to turning in someone at school. In a high school with only 150 students in all four grades, we were more like brothers and sisters than classmates. Mum was the WORD in telling on anyone. We’d rather die!

Where I was raised, we had the Met-how River running right thru’ our valley, (also named Met-how), and gorgeous aspen, birch, and maple trees lined its banks making the most beautiful scenery. Across main street we had some huge maples growing too, so the falling leaves to shuffle our feet thru’, and colors left on the trees were something to behold.

The valley has changed a lot. It’s not the peaceful little cowboy town I left in my late twenties, now that they opened the North Cascades Highway Pass over to the coastal side of the state into Seattle, but the new people moving in can’t take away those grand colors of fall, or the memories I have stored for a lifetime.
Granny Tam

Below is a poem for the kids, and a favorite of mine for Autumn….

Halloween and Candy Corn

Beneath the dark and eerie sky,
where harvest moon now rises,
children run in costumes bright
to each door for their prizes.

Dancking Candy Corn“Trick or Treat,” they loudly chime
with candy-bag in hand
as ghosts and goblins swoosh nearby
because they surely can.

At midnight hour, we tuck them in,
and kiss a chocolate grin,
knowing next October month
Halloween will come again!

Tamara Hillman



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The leaves are free spirits as they float to the ground
beautifully twirling without any sound.

Yellow, and red, brown, some still green
are surely the greatest sight I’ve ever seen.

A chill in the air whispers of frost—
I’ve chopped winter wood with sore muscles the cost.

Autumn is near, and I hear the tree bones
creaking in high winds with guttural moans.

I scuffle thru’ piles of dead leaves on my way
to do many chores each cool sunny day.

The pantry stands full of fruit by the quart—
vegetables in place so we won’t have to sort.

The animals’ fur has thickened for cold—
the barn stands there sturdy, although it’s quite old.

Grain in the field was mowed just last week—
corn is now stubble cut short and quite sleek.

Yes, autumn marks time for all folks to reap
the rewards of their labors in colorful heaps.

And now with the season, we’ll relax and take stock,
play cards in the evening, take quiet walks.

We’ll watch God’s sheer beauty float down from above.
Yes, I must admit—it’s autumn season I love.

Tamara Hillman



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