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Fall Arrives - The Return of the Pumpkin King


Fall has arrived. The autumnal equinox marks when daylight hours grow shorter, and the tree’s foliage changes color as leaves are shed. There is often a comparison of nature’s four seasons to the aging process in life.  Spring bringing new life, budding growth, summer bringing the heat of passion, the fertile freshness of youth, the fall when things begin to wither, as age creeps in, and winter arrives as all things die and lie barren.



I have always been a big fan of autumn and winter. I love the colorful leaves that glow in vibrant orange, red and gold. The thought of harvest time arriving, with pumpkins and apples let me know that Halloween will soon be here. That means that holiday season is on its way, with Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations to plan.
 

Just something about hayrides and apple cider make me smile. Although, I don’t want to go on a hayride, I can still be happy about them. Who wants to sit in pile of dirty straw? The thought of the bugs and the potential bacteria makes me cringe. Just the same way I don’t want to dunk my head into a basin of water to try and grab an apple, I can appreciate the tradition even if I never partake.



I did try and bob for apples once as a child. It was not an enjoyable game. I choked on water and hurt my front teeth, as I made a power thrust for a red delicious. Believe me, I didn’t need a piece of fruit that desperately. I did need a snorkel though.

I love the smell of wood burning in fireplaces, as it wafts through the chilly air. Of course, now with all the gas fireplaces, you don’t get that aroma that reminds me of fall. I guess there is the smell of the hot vent on the back of the fireplace unit, or the smell of searing flesh if you make a mistake and touch the metal. Not an inspiring thought, or a reason to want to sniff the crisp fall air.



I like to see the fall decorations on people’s houses. The corn stalks, the scarecrows, the colorful mums. It brings vibrancy as the season changes. A lot more people now seem to decorate for Halloween then when I was growing up. Back then there were jack-o-lanterns and maybe a cardboard witch. It was a reason for people not to knock down the big spider webs on their houses – it blended in with the season.



Now there are aisles of Halloween decorations in the stores. It is the biggest decoration season after Christmas. You can now see houses lite up with everything from a string of orange bulbs to flashing strobe lights highlighting a graveyard scene. I really enjoy the creativity involved, and the fact that is changes the ordinary to festive. I could do without those inflatable lawn decorations that seem to be so popular now. I hate them! They are big, puffy and look they should be in the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade – not on a lawn.  When they are not inflated, they look like a piece of debris laying in the yard. Show me something creative.



I want to see a real skeleton hanging from a tree in your yard. Dig somebody up and go for the Thriller vibe.  Lock the little rug rats in an old wooden stockade for the season. Now, that is definitely something to see. Unless your twenty foot hot air Dracula is floating over 34th Street, I don’t want to see it.



This is also the time of year when there are tons of Halloween candies in the stores. I use to love candy corn, but I have given it up for something much better – pumpkin! I have become a veritable pumpkin-aholic. I love everything that is pumpkin flavored or has pumpkin in it.  Now, it is not that I would drive my car into a pumpkin patch and start chewing my way through that fat orange vegetable. I love the taste of pumpkin mixed with the cinnamon and spices that create a pumpkin pie.



Every fall I can’t want to see the stores filling their shelves with pumpkin muffins, pumpkin spice bagels, pumpkin spice coffee, pumpkin ice cream and cream cheese. I go crazy with enjoyment – a real pumpkin head. This year I even bought a box of pumpkin pie pop tarts. I just couldn’t help myself. If they make it I will buy it.



After I have my pumpkin edible treat, I can wash my hands with Pumpkin Cupcake hand soap from Bath and Body Works and spray my house with Pumpkin Spice room spray.  I can shower with Pumpkin Pie shower gel and then light my Pumpkin Spice candle. If it sounds a bit over the top, so be it.



I, like Charlie Brown, wait each year for the Great Pumpkin to arrive. When he gets here, I smile gleefully all the way through Thanksgiving.  Let me enjoy it while it lasts. Soon enough I will be on my way to the eggnog, candy cane, gingerbread flavored and smelling products.



I am a Bath and Body Works, Yankee Candle fanatic. Give me a good fragrance and I will follow you anywhere. Starting in the fall until after Christmas is my favorite time to visit those stores. It is a cornucopia of good smells and products. I never know if I should light it, wash with it or rub it into my skin. All three is the best for sensory overload. From my house to my car, immerse me in the season.



I just received an email from Yankee candle that they have a Thanksgiving Turkey and Stuffing candle. They certainly know how to tempt me into their store. I have a love affair with any food-scented candles. I recently purchased their Salted Carmel candle, and it was a mouth-watering experience. Every time I light the candle, I want to taste it, but hot wax and flame is not on any recommended nutrition lists.



I will definitely have to give the Turkey Candle a smell test to see if it should be burning on my kitchen island. I always get excited to smell the candles when I visit Yankee. Most of the time the decision can be challenging, and as my storage room will reveal, I have been known to purchase in excess. Not every fragrance is a winner though; I recall a Christmas tree candle that smelled like cat pee, and some other scents that were good to bring you out of a coma, but not much else.



I am the ultimate consumer and this is my season. I always think when looking at my decorations packed away, that I have enough or what else could there possibly be that I need. Then, I go into a store and see a pumpkin made from recycled tires and I want to own it. There is always something I didn’t think I needed until I see it, and then the thrill of the purchase takes over.



I am a marketing executives wet dream. I am sure somewhere across the country a marketing professional has woken up in the middle of the night moaning, “Vince will buy it!” Bring on the caramel apple potpourri and the candied yam cologne. I will definitely give it a try.



Several years ago, I also realized that fall was the perfect time to visit the Jersey shore. I have always loved Cape May, but I’m not a fan of the summer season crowds. After Labor Day as the tourist trade begins to thin, is the perfect time to visit the beach. The air turns brisk and the sun is not so scorching.



It is great sitting on the beach with room to spare. No Frisbees being tossed by screaming children, no cacophony of music competing from beach blankets and best of all - no heavy fragrance looming in the air of coconut oil slathered onto aging cougars in thongs.



Give me the piece and quiet of autumn at the shore. We have stayed the last several years at one of the Congress Hall properties, and it has always been a great escape. There is nothing better than enjoying a good book as you lounge in a cabana or by the pool. You can have a tasty drink by your side and order lunch from the more than cordial pool/beach attendants.



It is picturesque to take a stroll amongst the Victorian houses in their fall finery while I enjoy my pumpkin cinnamon frozen custard from Kohr’s Brothers. Then I can saunter past Morrow’s Nut House and purchase their Pumpkin Pie Fudge. My only concern is that by the end of the season, I will look like a pumpkin.



I will be the pumpkin version of Violet from Willy Wonka who became a giant blueberry. I don’t really want to be rolled from room to room and have to be taken to the juicing room for extraction. Perhaps, I will have to Google search Pumpkins Anonymous if I can’t control my addiction. Maybe, they offer something to control the craving like a “Pumpkin Patch.”



I really love the fall and winter. I guess I go against the norm, since most people tend to tell me they love spring and summer. Perhaps, I suffer from a permanent state of melancholy, since I love when the leaves start to fall and the trees become bare. I like the cold months when the landscape becomes more desolate like an abstract painting. The skeletal trees scratching against the winter sky make for a cool photo opportunity.



It is comforting settling down in front of a cozy fire as the cold winds begin to swirl the golden leaves around the yard. I would much rather don a warm scarf to take a brisk walk on a autumn afternoon, then feeling the sweat roll done my back as I swelter in the summer heat.  Chafing is not a word I associate with my favorite time of year.



So as the landscape becomes a patchwork quilt of fall colors, and the jack-o-lanterns start glowing in the windows of neighbor’s houses, give the season two thumbs up for beauty and that the cycle of seasons continues. I will be sorting through my Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas decorations as I sip my pumpkin latte and take my warm apple crisp out of the oven.




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