Last Day of October 2009 in Madrid

Today’s Halloween, we’ve already changed our clocks back 1-hour, and the temperatures are getting a little cooler – but only a little. Some of the leaves have gone from green to brown, seemingly overnight, bypassing the oranges, reds, and yellows we would see in many parts of the USA.

NFL football is in full-swing although it’s hard to notice from Madrid. I catch a game or two each week, whether live on Sunday afternoon or as tape-delayed on a weekday, but it’s not the same. NCAA football games come and go an there’s nary a whisper about them here. I actually had 2 tickets to today’s Ohio State University football game against New Mexico State University in Ohio Stadium but sold them to a Columbus friend. I sell my one-game pair of tickets every year as I haven’t been in Ohio to see an OSU football game since moving to Spain 4 years ago. I miss my Buckeyes.

By I do love autumn, more so in Ohio than here, but at least the temperatures are cooler since I don’t like the heat. Saturdays, one would think, would be a day of rest – but not here. Saturdays are when I sleep only as late as normal (9am), work a little until nearly noon, then go to the market to buy food supplies for my Spanish lunch guests arriving at 2pm. This happens almost every Saturday. I enjoy the company, conversation, and even the cooking – but the lack of house space after the meal prevents a proper siesta, plus there are all those dishes to wash.

October is, by far, my favorite month of the entire year so I’m just a little melancholy to see it go. Growing up in the Midwestern state of Ohio, our autumns are always beautiful with a dozen different leaf colors – both on the trees and as they start to fall to the ground, scattering across the soon-to-be-raked front and back yards. Where I grew up – and where my parents still live – we have several large, mature maple trees surrounding our farm house. The smell of piles of fallen autumn leaves is something one never forgets. By this time of year the fields on two sides of the property have already been harvested of their soy bean or corn plants, providing a clean 100 acre view of field land and exposing the occasional passing deer scavenging for grains.

So autumn is over, although not by the calendar. We’ll now turn quickly to winter and a short string of holidays. This is nice to look forward to too. I plan to cook a big Thanksgiving Day feast the weekend before the holiday for Spanish friends just as I did last year – but hope to have learned from that less-than-positive experience. That’ll take a good deal of preparation as anyone knows.

Goodbye, October. You’ll be missed. But my memories of apple orchards & cider, dressed up Trick-or-Treaters & candy corn, leaf-covered yards & leaf-stuffed scarecrows, and cool, crisp air stay with me.

 
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