L-R: Donna, Terre, Jan, Draper & Jeanie
|Never does October arrive with its cool shortened days, giving
relief to the exhaustion of a long hot summer, that I don't get "vim in my
vigor". Some folks consider the springtime in Georgia to be the loveliest time of
year. And indeed it is lovely with the flowering azaleas and dogwoods punctuating the
landscape with their pastel color. However for me the fall's crisp air with the scent of
burning leaves and the golden color of the falling leaves accented here and there with
bright crimson or orange is Georgia in its prime.
Octobers of my youth meant winter coats and sweaters were brought out of the cedar chest and aired. But no matter how much airing time was afforded, the first couple of times they were worn there remained that distinctive odor of summer storage. Anytime I get a hint of the smell of cedar or mothballs I'm immediately overcome with nostalgia.
Of course, fall in the South was the commencement of that sacred annual fall rite - football. Southrons love football! It is synonymous to "Mom and apple pie". Though every game was an event, the homecoming game was "The Event". Perry High School was a small school in a small town. Your Momma and Daddy went there and probably your Granddaddy and Grandmother too. There was the election of the homecoming Queen and her court; the homecoming parade for which school was dismissed; the big pep rally complete with bonfire the night before the game; the homecoming dance after the game. Alumni actually showed up for the game and dance. I wonder if they still do? The whole town was involved. Today folks ask what has happened to education and community. I think that perhaps it has something to do with growth. Not growth in maturity or sophistication but growth that expands the boundaries of a community beyond those which bind folks together in common cause and interests.
One of the big October events was the local Halloween Carnival. Of course this is before the time that Halloween got such a bad rap! It amazes me that so many generations that were reared celebrating Halloween to its fullest have become fine citizens and religious leaders; it is the current generation which, denied the carefree celebration of "all hallows", is having the struggle with violence, sex and drugs. Even when Halloween is celebrated there is a tinge of guilt that maybe you shouldn't be having fun as a witch. It just isn't PC.
The annual Halloween Carnival was sponsored by the school's PTA organization. The room mothers banded together, organized groups of volunteers and treated the local youngsters with a fun filled night of reveling while raising money for needed items for the school. There were bake sells, cake walks, pony rides, hot dogs stands, a hay ride, balloon darts, fortune telling and even a "kissing booth". My favorite was the "fishin' hole". This consisted of a sheet hung between two post, cane fishing poles with clothes pins tied to the end and a parent on the other side of the sheet (the fishing hole). After paying your dime you would stand on one side of the sheet (the creek bank) and caste your line over the sheet. In a few seconds you would feel a tug on the line and pull in your catch, usually a penny whistle or other such small trinket but treasures none the less.
Of course, one of the best things about the evening fun was the costume. There was a costume contest but I refused to participate. It horrified me; the idea of walking around in a circle while all those folks looked you over. Some kids had store bought costumes but my mother was never one for that, though at the time I heartedly wished for one of those cheap Japanese novelties. 'Muther' was always creative and enjoyed to exercise this creativity in the compilation of our costumes. One year she decided that I would be a horrible ol' witch and my younger sister would be a cute little white bunny. I'm sure if asked today Mother would say that I was agreeable to being a witch; and I probably was since once 'Momma made up her mind' things were pretty well set to happen. But I really hated being that witch. My little sister was always the cute one anyway and was always told so. Of course, everyone seemed to think that being a little witch was prefect for me; a little demon might have been perceived likewise.
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