My View

Tuesday, September 6, 2005

Caterpillars, leaves and football

Fall is approaching, it is in the air. And that means many changes.

Caterpillars, in their furry little coats, can be seen out wiggling around. When my kids were young, one of the highlights of the season was to go hunting for the fuzzy worms. There was always a good population of them down our lane. The kids used to beg to go down the lane often, each with his or her own jar, to transport any of the caterpillars they spotted, back to the house. There were never any arguments or pulling apart of any of the worms because there always seemed to be enough of them.

I recall one time, daughter Marissa had snuck up ahead of me and when I finally caught up with her she had a half a jar of the squiggly things. That was gross! Looking back now, it looked like appetizers for a Fear Factor episode.

For a child, that hunting is as big a thrill as what a sportsman gets during a hunt for ducks, deer and whatever else he would like to see hanging on his wall. Instead of mounting the little worms on the wall, kids place them in jars to never see them again - they either die in there, escape from the foil-covering or spin the silky cocoon around them, to hide, I suppose. I don't think any butterflies ever emerged from my kids' jars.

And fall means falling leaves. Growing up, we had three large maple trees in our yard. the big deal was to have all the kids in the neighborhood come over and rake leaves - again and again - as we enjoyed jumping in them. And at the end of the day, we'd burn leaves and roast hot dogs on marshmallows on old sticks we found laying in the yard. One of the neighbors had oodles of apple trees in her yard and we often roasted those over the fire as well. MMMM!

I can still smell the smells of hot dogs cooked in the leaves giving off the toxic fumes!

Fall also means all the wonderful colors. My kids and I used to make trips to the Spring Lake Park in Cherokee to admire the reds, oranges and yellows of the leaves. When our walk around the mile track was completed, we would have plucked about as many leaves as a single tree sheds. The kids liked to bring the leaves home. By the next day, the leaves were always dried up, which meant another trip around the park was planned.

Another thing I like about fall is putting away the shorts and tees and getting out the baggy sweaters and sweatshirts to hide under. It's been a bad summer for me and I've put on a few pounds. (I better not wear any brown sweaters; the squirrels will surely mistake me for a tree and try hiding nuts around me, but then again, yumm, treats!)

There is one other thing that fall brings that I am not excited about - football.

Oh, the men in my household are in seventh heaven when this season rolls around. As long as us girls keep them fed and watered during their games, we're alright. We have learned never to, for goodness sake, walk in front of them, putting up a split-second barrier between them and the television. (What is the difference? Replays are made on every single move the players make.)

And if it's something important we need to say, forget it, unless we can catch them on the way to the bathroom during a commercial.

If the "home" team is defeated, we've learned not to talk to the boys for several hours, giving them time to absorb the loss before they can move on.

I've never understood the rules of football but now that I have a son playing on the Aurelia Bulldogs' junior varsity team, and one playing in the kids' padded football league, I may need to have a few lessons on what it's all about. In the past, it's always been a time for eating popcorn and cheering when a Bulldog crossed the line. I'm sure there must be a lot more to the game than that!

Happy fall!