On the Road by Annie Acorn
Also available for Nook.
Okay, I admit it. Fall is my favorite time of the year.
In my mind I always start it early with back to school, obviously a holdover from my childhood in a place far far away and a looooooong time ago.
This year, though, fall has acted like a tease as summer lingered, warm days holding the need for warmer clothes at bay. This weekend, we are being told, the temperatures will dip, and parts of inland Maryland may even see a few snowflakes dancing in the air in the higher elevations.
Can you see the smile that rests upon my face?
I knew this week was special when I stopped by Roots, my neighborhood gourmet market, and discovered Country Acres’ Apple Cider nestled in a bed of ice right inside the door. For the next few weeks, I will guzzle as much of it as possible, having first warmed it in the microwave in a treasured mug.
Next I realized that my thoughts had turned to chili, but not just any chili – only my maternal grandmother’s chili will do, the one that waited on the back burner of her stove whenever we arrived after a long, cold journey – such as the one I described in On the Road.
More like a chili soup than traditional chili, my sisters and I crumbled handfuls of Saltine crackers into our individual bowls before consuming it, ready to fill our young bodies with its warmth and Grandma’s love that had gone into its making.
It won’t be long until I’ll buy a box of raisins, so I can bake a cake, the one my family calls The Fall Cake. Although it’s made from scratch, I will not use my electric mixer. I’ve seen variations of this cake referred to as Depression Cake, Victory Cake, and Earth Day Cake, and I’ll stir its batter smooth in a pot upon my stove. Then it will bake in a slow 300° oven, as aromas of cinnamon and nutmeg permeate my house.
Then and only then, it will be fall.
After I’ve consumed my bowl of chili with its crushed Saltines and eaten my warm raisin cake topped with a scoop of ice cream, I will take a walk in the crisp, cool air – the crunch of leaves a welcome sound beneath my feet.
If the day is perfect and it will be since it’s fall, the sky will be a deep, deep blue and will perhaps have fluffy clouds floating across it here and there. Red and orange and yellow leaves will flutter in the wind, and when my steps have returned me to my home, I will warm my cider in a treasured mug and snuggle beneath an afghan in my favorite chair, a cozy mystery near at hand for me to read.
Yes, I admit it freely. Fall is my favorite season of the year. Now, don’t you think you should admit that it’s your favorite season, too?
Also available for Nook.