Cold November

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November has never been my favorite month. The trees have lost the fiery colors of October, we wake to frost-covered ground, frozen fog and a bleak November wind. The days grow shorter and shorter … The promise of snow is in the air.

“In November, the trees are standing all sticks and bones. Without their leaves, how lovely they are, spreading their arms like dancers. They know it is time to be still.”
Cynthia Rylant

However, as the joy of sun-filled beach days and fragrant flowers fades into a memory, I have discovered some things I like about November. This month brings the opportunity to slow down and be still, to sit by the fire with a good book and a cup of peppermint tea. It’s also time to make some of my favorite comfort foods – a bubbling-hot pot of soup or chili cooking on the stove, or the aroma of a pot roast in the oven with onions, carrots and potatoes; a rich apple crisp made with the bountiful supply of apples from my favorite orchard. I also enjoy the harvest vegetables that autumn brings – butternut or acorn squash baked with butter and brown sugar, and the pumpkin pie that will soon adorn our Thanksgiving table.

Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays. It is an occasion for reflecting on the goodness of life: friends, family, food. And I really do have much  to be grateful for. I am healthy and have a family I dearly love, and my longtime friends (as well as a few new ones) help make my life rich and full of laughter.

I am especially grateful for my grandkids and the joy they have brought to my life. I love it when my grandson Brennan, who is attending Michigan Technical University, calls me on a Sunday afternoon just to say “hi” and fill me in on the details of his college life.

I enjoy receiving a text from Mack, who is now a Marine and receiving flight training in Pensacola, FL. My grandson Noah turned 16 in October and is a newly-licensed driver (here we go, again). I also know that in just a blink of an eye, he will be moving on in life, following in his brothers’ footsteps and making his own path.

Elijah, the youngest, brings so much joy to my heart. During a recent visit, he asked me to play football with him.

I told him I wasn’t very good at football. He told me, “That’s okay, Grandma. Just do your best.” So, we played football.

What I am especially grateful for is that my entire family will be joining me at my Thanksgiving table this year, enjoying a feast that takes hours to prepare and is devoured in 20 minutes!

I recently returned from a visit to my home state of Maryland, where I was able to spend time with my siblings and have breakfast with some of my high school classmates – three hours of laughing and reminiscing about our school days and some of the crazy things we did. I spent one of the last sunny and warm days playing golf in the mountains, knowing that it would soon be time to put the clubs away for the year.

I will cherish the memories that were created, knowing that just thinking about them will carry me through the cold November days. Yes, I will be still – and I’m very grateful.

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