Fall and Punkins, Flowers and Raking Leaves
Fall has always been my favorite season because it is a gradual delineator between the hot
hustle and bustle of summer to the laid back enjoyable and cooler fall. I always think of
fall as nice warm days and cool, good sleeping nights. The only thing is that is how it
was back in the Blue Ridge Mountains, but taint so here in Wyoming.
People cower, shy and just plain shiver when I tell them, “Shucks around here a blizzard
on Memorial day and Labor Day are not out of the ordinary. That is just the nature of the
country and that is why we have the romping stomping density of 7.5, yes seven and one
half people per square mile in this state.
Late summer and fall always meant apples getting ripe, making cider, chinquapins, black
walnuts and fields of ripe watermelons that are there just for us to steal. Of course it
meant the start of school with the new shoes, clothes and new winter coat. And oh lord
the heck we got to not get stains on our new clothes, rip them or stuff like that because
they were new and we would not get anymore until next year. Well that is not exactly a
truth since there were hand me downs and some of the boys I knew did not know what new
clothes were, but they did get new shoes for most folks did not hand them down, but during
the winter they went a looking for a dry pair.
Another banner for fall was at football games the ladies all wore great big fall corsages.
Heck the only flower I can remember by name are mums. But after I became nearly a teen I
found that good hard cider was great. Heck one Sunday Walker Burdette and I were tossing
a football and trying to drop kick field goals when we needed a break and I gave Walker
two big peanut butter mugs of hard cider. Well he got tipsy and went home. I should have
told you that Walker was the only son of the Reverend and Mrs. Burdette, the local
Presbyterian preacher. Oh lord, his momma done went ballistic!
Back in those days corn was cut, shocked and then in the winter the men would go out and
shuck it, throwing the ripe ears in the back of the wagon. Then they would either take it
to the grist mill to get the grain off the cobs or they had one of those hand crank jobs
that did it for them. A real mechanical genius because otherwise they had to shell it by
hand with their fingers. As a boy too young for school I loved to go where they were
shucking corn and listen to the men talk. Stories and tales of their younger years, their
childhood and their adventures while in service for in that part of the country every man
served during times of war. It was and still is an unwritten tradition, you serve your
Used to catch holy whatfor because, we would pick up black walnuts and let them dry, then
remove the hull and sit for hours cracking and eating them. There were plenty of black
walnut trees around even if you did not have one at your house. Go home for supper and of
course that black would not wash off, it stained your hands. Scrub brush and homemade lye
soap. Wonder why we never thought to wear gloves?
Pumpkins seemed to abound, there were a few vines in every garden so there was never a
shortage of pumpkins, all we ever called them were ‘punkins’. Of course punkins meant
Halloween and a Jack O’lantern which we always carved and put them on the front porch with
a candle inside. Lots of folks used scare crows and I thought it so cool that some folks
would dress the old scarecrow to be with the punkins and straw Santas and such.
Oops, got carried away, better stop, this was not meant as an epistle, but shucks, you
know old rapid fingers me??
© By Tom (tomWYO@aol.com)