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Wednesday, November 23, 2022

NOVEMBER - Transitioning to Winter

 by Judy Ann Davis

                                          HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

It’s Novemberour transition into winter. Bare tree limbs shiver in stiff winds. Wayward leaves scurry across the chilly ground, and clouds gather in gray skies. Inside, people search closets and drawers for wool and flannel clothing, and warm shoes and boots.

It’s the time when everyone dashes outside to get their homes battened down and ready for the first snows to fly. The bushes and trees have been trimmed, and perennial plants are leveled to the ground for a spring rebirth. Leaves from trees, now drab brown, wet, or maybe crispy and dry, have been raked or swept up in lawn mowers. In our small development here in Central Pennsylvania, when one mower roared to life, another followed shortly, and the race was on to see which house finished first.

November brings back many memories from childhood in Northeastern Pennsylvania. I remember school days when we watched out the windows in our classrooms to look for the first snowflakes. For farm kids, snow meant outside fun as we rode sleds, shovels or saucers down a slippery slope. There were outside chores, too. Clearing snow from the front porch, sidewalk, back steps and entrance were unspoken activities after every storm. Almost daily, we hauled stacks of wood from outside into our cellar to dry and feed our hungry, wood-fired furnace.                                     

I loved our cellar furnace. The light sweet smoky smell of wood still reminds me of a toasty warmed-by-air ducts ending at metal floor registers above. In high school and before bedtime, I would find a register, grab a blanket and wrap it tent-like around me to trap the heat while I did my homework.

And I’ll never forget the tasty winter foods of November. Falling temperatures brought warmer hearty dishes to our table—roasts, ham, meatloaf, stuffed cabbage, and stews, to name a few. Delicious scents from homemade soups like chicken noodle, beet, creamy potato, or vegetable beef wafted through the rooms. Hot chocolate, cider, tea, and coffee made winter meals even more savory and inviting. Thanksgiving was a feast. If we didn’t have a turkey, we enjoyed a chicken or roast. Mother froze or canned every imaginable vegetable, so cranberries were our only purchased item for the holidays.

As the eleventh month of the year, November can rightfully boast it’s the transition from fall to winter. It also announces we are approaching the end of the year. For children who love and wait for winter, it's so much more as they ask the curious and often blissful question swirling in their heads and hearts—will it snow today?  

JUNE ~ The Pianist

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