Wednesday, October 21, 2020

AUTUMN FEVER by Cheryl Pierson

When I was growing up, I remember looking forward to the first day of school each year. “Back then” we didn’t start back to school in the fall until after Labor Day. In Oklahoma, it was still hot as blue blazes in September, but at least, the evenings and nights were cooling off. I dreaded seeing summer end, but by September, I was feeling the pull to go back to school, see my friends—and I’d never admit it—start learning again!
By the time October rolled around, things had definitely become more “fall-like” and the sun had taken on the “autumn slant” as the days grew shorter, as well. My mom used to take note of the seasonal changes very keenly, and I remember her saying, “Well, fall is here.” There was no need to explain—it was in the coolness of the air, the more orange tint of the sun, the shorter days.
Of course, to a child, “fall” meant that Halloween was coming! Back in those days, it was still safe to go door-to-door with friends, all of us together in the crisp night air, a giggling mass of energy all dressed in our finery (most of us with homemade costumes, not store-bought) and those little plastic pumpkins with the handles to carry our “loot” home in. “TRICK OR TREAT!” we’d call out at each door, and our neighbors would always pretend they thought they were giving candy to princesses and pirates, superheroes and witches.
November brought Thanksgiving—a time when we’d usually go to my grandparents’ houses. I was the “lucky” one of all my cousins (and I had 40+ cousins!) because in the small town of Calera, Oklahoma, I had my dad’s parents who lived at one end of town, and my mom’s parents who lived at the other end. Cousins, aunts, and uncles from both sides also lived there, so many of my cousins from both sides of the family went to school with each other and knew one another as friends and fellow sports teammates. Those were simpler times—we could walk all over town without fear of any foul play, and I had grandparents at each end of town, so no matter which cousins I was with, we had somewhere to walk to.
The town of Calera, Oklahoma, year unknown. It was a water stop for trains and was called Cale Switch or Cale Station, but when the railroad wanted to rename it Sterrett, the people insisted on a compromise--and Calera was born. This is the main street of the town--much more lively than it was when we kids were walking it back in the mid-late 60's and early 70's.
The big treat was stopping in at the one and only “grocery store”—more like an Old West mercantile store—that was about at the halfway mark through town. It had a glass case with bologna and ham inside and a big slicer that the store owner, Petey, would use to cut your lunchmeat. Then, he’d wrap it in freezer paper and tie it up with twine. Petey’s store also had one of those big chest-type coolers with a sliding top, filled with ice and bottled pop. That was back when a bottle of pop was ten cents or so—and a candy bar could be had for a few pennies more.
There’s nothing like family and Thanksgiving dinner all together to bring “Autumn Fever” to the highest level. Doesn’t Thanksgiving just speak to us of autumn? By that time of the year, even in Oklahoma, the leaves have turned some beautiful rich colors of gold, red, orange, and brown and drifted from the trees. The winds have become colder and more cutting (and that’s saying something here in Oklahoma!) and of course there’s that “fall smell” in the air. And probably that’s one of the things I love most about autumn—the smell. There is nothing like the feeling of being tucked up inside four strong walls with food to eat, a fire going in the fireplace, and a good book to read. And did I mention a dog’s head on my lap? But celebrating fall took on a whole new meaning when we moved to West Virginia. I had never seen colors on the trees like what we saw there--such a wonderful display of nature--and it happens every year!
Rick Burgess is an excellent professional photographer who is a good friend--he specializes in pictures of the natural beauty of "Wild, Wonderful West Virginia" and this is one that was taken at Plum Orchard Lake in the fall. Isn't it gorgeous?
I know a lot of people will think this is strange, but I’ve never been a coffee or hot tea drinker. Yet, in the fall, I DO want something warm to drink—and this is it. This drink is very easy to make and keep on hand—and I haven’t tried making it with any artificial sweetener yet, but this year I’m going to do just that instead of using sugar and see how it turns out. This “friendship tea” is also good to make and give as a gift in a pretty container (that’s how I got it in the very beginning, and I have been so glad someone did that for me so many years ago!)
This wonderful drink is ready in 5 minutes, and makes 4 cups of the instant mix.
1 -1 1⁄2cup sugar (or less, to taste)
2 cups instant Tang orange drink
1⁄2cup sweetened iced tea mix powder
1(1/4 ounce) envelope unsweetened lemonade mix
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1⁄2teaspoon ground cloves (or you can also put in whole cloves if you like)
Combine all ingredients well and store in an airtight container.
To use, fill a mug with boiling water and stir in 2-3 teaspoons of mix, to taste.
If all you can find is presweetened lemonade, then use the amount of dry mix needed for a 2 -quart pitcher according to the package instructions and leave out the sugar.
This recipe has been around for many years, but this iteration of it came from GENIUS KITCHEN and is close to the one I’ve had in my recipe box for all this time.

I have to admit, by Christmas I’m certainly missing fall, and “Autumn Fever” takes on a new meaning—I want it BACK! As sad as I was to see summer end, that’s how I feel when the winter ice and snow comes—I’m immediately nostalgic for fall!
What do you do in the autumn months? Are you glad to see them come and herald summer’s end? I do read a lot, as I’m sure many of us do here at WF. Please share any good books you’ve read so we can all build our reading list!
I’d also love to hear your childhood memories of fall--and I do hope you’ll try this wonderful “friendship tea” recipe when those autumn winds begin to blow—it’s a sure cure for AUTUMN FEVER!


  1. Cheryl,

    I'm always (not exaggerating) happy to have summer end. Ugh. Hot weather and all that sunlight and I don't get along at all.

    Autumn and the Halloween 'season' was always a big, exciting time in my childhood, and I carried that on with my children. Bonfires, hayrides, enjoying everything about autumn (well, when the weather cooperated and we didn't have an early blizzard). Raking leaves in my grandma's yard was fun. She lived in town and there were a lot of big old Elms and Cottonwoods in her neighborhood. We'd get piles of leaves large enough to jump into and not bonk your head on the ground. haha Trick or Treating for this country kid was limited to people in town we knew well or were related to. I never walked the streets with or without a group of kids. We always saved my great aunt and uncle's house for last. They had chocolate cake and hot cocoa.

    One of my favorite things about autumn is hearing the geese flying in their migration. I'm like a little kid when I hear them. I run around the yard until I can get a good view and it just makes me smile all over.

    I have a version of your Friendship Tea recipe. I had no idea it had a real name. We call it Tea and Tang. hahahaha

    Books... Hmm... So many. I read more nonfiction than fiction, so a book I can recommend in the nonfiction genre is 'Gateway to Freedom - the hidden history of the underground railroad' by Eric Foner.

    1. Kaye, when I was a kid I loved autumn AND winter. LOL Now that I'm older, not so much. I love the geese, too--but not as much as the dogs do--OH, it is big excitement when they fly over our house and the dogs are in the backyard! LOL We've actually had geese land in our pool (there is a lake nearby where they live) and Max and Sammy think THAT is a party! LOL I love Friendship Tea. I made some up last winter and drank it til it was gone. And...maybe that wasn't so good since it had a lot of sugar in the version I made...LOL Gateway to Freedom sounds great. I finished (finally) reading Judy by Daniel Lewis, about an exceptional dog who was the mascot of a British ship at the beginning WWII. The ship was bombed and sank, and Judy survived and went with the sailors from one prison camp to another. It was not only fascinating to read about the dog and how they managed to keep her for the duration of the war in their horrific circumstances, but I learned a lot of history I never knew, too. I would recommend that book to anyone, dog lover or not!

  2. I have to admit, Fall is lovely, but the shorter days always are a bit hard for me. Still, I do enjoy the cooler weather.

    When I was younger, our family would take falls car trips to see the fall colors. My favorite drive was the River Road along the Mississippi River between Hamilton and Navoo, Illinois. Just stunning.

    I've tried the drink and it is good. Doris

  3. Doris, these shorter days are hard on me, too. I'm one of those people that is ready for bed when it gets dark. LOL When we lived in West Virginia, the fall colors were so beautiful out there--just gorgeous.

    I've gotta figure out a way to make this tea with less sugar--will tinker with it some and see what I come up with.

  4. My daughter likes this time of the year for the reasons you mentioned: school, friends, and Halloween. My wife enjoys the weather and change of colors on the trees. Me? I'm a Spring guy. I'm for the rebirth. lol. Great post, Cheryl!

    1. David, I remember how much my mom always loved the first sign of spring. She's mention the first sighting of a robin and have such excitement in her tone. At the time, I was young and didn't understand, but now, I sure do. LOL I love spring and summer. I can hardly wait for April to roll around. Living here in OK, spring also means tornado season, but I still look forward to the warmer temps.

  5. Such pleasant memories. Thank you, Cheryl. :)

    1. Hi Vicky, Thanks so much for stopping by and reading. I had a heck of a time getting this blog to post up, and the first couple of times it was not legible--well, it was, but not easily read. I'm glad you stopped by--that tea is wonderful for a cool/cold day and I love that it's instant.

  6. Oh WOW Livia posted a work-around for the "no commenting" bug we've all been experiencing! Let's see if this works ...

    Yes, Fall is one of my favorite seasons and I agree, Cheryl, it's mostly the scent in the air. Something just makes you want to get out of the house and wander around -- whether that's in your own back yard or across state or country lines. The "wild geese" instinct, I suppose, from when humans migrated and followed the herd animals.

    I also love the colors of Fall -- orange and yellow and rich browns and deep green. Those are pretty much the colors I wear most of the time. As I look around the house, I realize part of the reason I decided to buy it was the fact that it's painted in Fall colors. The library is gold, the dining room is maroon, and the living room is jade green. Isn't it interesting how colors and smells ignite our memories?

    1. JES, I'm that way about colors, too. When I was growing up, my mom would never buy me anything that was brown--she didn't like that color. But I had blonde hair and brown eyes, and brown looked really good on me! As I got older, I noticed how I gravitated toward yellows, oranges, and browns, and yes, the jade green and maroon now, too. LOL Love all those colors. And as you say, the scent of Fall is wonderful, whether it's the baking, the autumn leaves, or just the cool crisp air.

      So glad you are able to post now!

  7. Cheryl,

    Vehemently dislike tea but do like your article very much. Ahhhhh fall, the time of falling leaves, fecund smells, harvesting, fishing, and hunting. There is nothing like a walk in the woods, GOD'S cathedral.

    Charlie Steel

    1. Oh Charlie! You sound like you feel about tea like I do about coffee! LOL I like the way coffee smells but do not like the way it tastes at all. Yes, I agree. Walking in the woods is definitely God's cathedral. I love nature! Thanks for stopping by, my friend!

  8. I'm definitely a spring and summer gal, like you, Cheryl. When the leaves start falling, it's like I'm weeping, too, because summer's on the wane. The only thing that saves fall is the beautiful colors and the honking sounds of the geese. We don't have the colors like the East as oak and maple aren't dominant like the poplar and cottonwoods, which usually just turn yellow. The older I get, the more I dread (and hate) winter. For me, the only saving grace about winter is that God made new-fallen snow sparkle like a carpet of diamonds in moonlight or sunlight. I was a country kid so never did trick or treat or dress up. I remember one Halloween falling on a Saturday. It was a gorgeous day and I had spent all day washing windows, not an easy chore because the windows on the old part of the house were tall and the picture windows on the extension were huge. When we came home from Saturday night shopping, miscreants had smeared axle crease on the windows.....the first clue was when we turned the door handle, which was also smeared with that yuk. I was NOT a happy camper on Sunday when I had to start all over again. And oh, yes, did I mention the outhouse was tipped over, too? I guess teenage farm boys have to have fun, too. Happy Halloween...yeah, right LOL. I enjoyed reading your post, delightful as always, Cheryl.