By Kathy Oswalt-Forsythe
November. The days are shorter, the nights dark and cold. October’s autumn leaves still grasp the branches, but soon they will let go, tugged and torn in the cold winds and rains.
Winter is quickly approaching.
It is a time for gathering in and taking stock of our warm gear and pantries. A time for cozy socks and good books. A time for appreciating the comforts of home.
When I was a child, November meant the harvesting was done, and Dad was more rested and available. He worked often at his desk, tallying accounts, paying bills, and planning for the next spring. Some years I imagine there was some extra in the farm accounts, and some years I’m sure there wasn’t enough.
We children were oblivious to any struggles.
During late afternoons, my brothers and I worked on our homework, colored, or worked puzzles around the kitchen table as the sky darkened. Mom suggested, monitored, and encouraged our activities while she cooked. Our stomachs rumbled and growled as the delicious smells of dinner swirled through the room.
Most nights we sat together for supper around the old kitchen table, talking about our day, enjoying our mother’s meal. I can still see the dishes, the food, my brothers’ faces. I can still hear my parents’ laughter or the scrape of the silverware on plates. During the cold months, when Dad’s field work was done, there was no rushing through dinner.
Sometimes during this time, Dad taught us a card game and played with us. Occasionally, we tackled a board game, or we retreated to a comfortable chair or couch to read.
Television viewing choices were very limited in the late 60s, so we usually created our own entertainment. We built things, we worked on crafts, we sorted and organized our toys.
I don’t remember ever being bored.
It was a simple time. A gentle time. A time I recall with appreciation and affection.
I know now how lucky I am.
I am grateful for the times together and hold close the memories of my loved ones no longer on this earth. Some part of each special person remains in me: a kind word spoken, a laugh shared, a tender touch when I needed it most.
I am thankful for food in my cupboards, casseroles bubbling in the oven, dark coffee warming my morning mug.
I am thankful for our warm home, for the good health of the people I love most, for the holidays that quickly approach.
I hope during November, we can all slow down, spend time with those most dear, and remember to find joy in the place each one of us calls home.
It’s a fine life.