chelsea cookSIt seems we have officially entered into autumn. I was probably 21 years old before I could use that word without flinching as “fall” was the only term that seemed correct. Autumn came with the smell of burning leaves as one walked the sidewalks of the neighborhood and Dad smoked a pipe as you two (or three) walked along together under the multi-color awning of those branches spreading above you. There was no raucous sound of leaf blowers to disturb the senses but the neighbor, who had just spoken to you and yours whilst making a wry joke, is carefully raking all his leaves in preparation to burn them when the wind is just right. Then after returning to your home behind the white picket fence, a cup of hot chocolate and a rest in the lawn chair, before they are put away until next June, is your reward.  
After slipping on a light jacket, Dad makes a statement about the football team losing another game but tells how hard “those young men” tried. He also notes the two coaches have all they can do as there must be about 25 boys trying to make the team this year. But he grins as he says that the school needs another math teacher if they can hire any new teachers. Dad restates the opinion of most people in town that academics, at whatever level, should be the first priority of any school.  Dad looks around knowing that he should start putting away all the lawn furniture as the days are certainly getting shorter. There was a definite zip in the air this morning.
Now that  was autumn. That was a time we read about and/or saw in movies. Many of us would love to have a day like that but, as it is said ad infinitum, “that ain’t gonna happen.” The days of autumn are over and have been replaced by its modern version. Today most of us have fall. The temperature has been over 90F every day this week with one day just short of 100F. It was 98F on Tuesday and, while working outside, it felt as though it was about 106F. Dang! I must be getting to be a sissy as I couldn’t work more than an hour or so at a time.  
We do not slip on a light jacket here during fall, we may take off our shirt and wear just a T-shirt or a singlet which is more than we want but we have to be careful of the sun on our skin. We also don’t worry about not having enough coaches as the public demands enough coaches to produce more wins. In autumn boys were attempted to be taught sportsmanship as a paramount virtue. In fall you men-wanna-be’s are taught that winning is what counts. Even tennis is changing from young people keeping and calling their own score to outsiders calling each serve and point.
But there are some good things about fall even if we have to look for them. One thing for sports fans that I always look forward to is when the baseball season, football season and basketball season overlaps. That is now happening in the fall as opposed to autumn. In autumn we had the World Serious and baseball season ended before Thanksgiving or Christmas, some time in early October as my old mind remembers. Football season started after Labor Day and basketball season started really late (according to today’s standards) like in late October or November. It was considered a winter sport. Now, even for the better high school players, it is year round. I like autumn sports better as I could keep up with my favorite teams. Now that the sports moguls are trying to squeeze every penny they can from the public, I gave up. No more Brooklyn Dodgers for me.  (insert sigh here) But for the people who really like sports, this must be a good thing. Oh, and girls get to play volleyball now. But... for the really real sports fan, there is a Lingerie Football League which would be of interest if your wife is in the other room. That is in the spring, so I have heard, but it doesn’t interfere with baseball, spring football nor early basketball.
Thomas Wolf wrote: “You Can't Go Home Again” and I believe he is/was correct.  No matter how good “yesterday” was, no matter how much one enjoyed what there was, it is over. Today must be taken as reality but never forgetting what made the good of yesterday good. One must try to make today as good as one remembers yesterday being. “Into each life a little rain shall fall” but one can always wear a virtual raincoat.