The first cold weather of the fall came in last night. It’s a misty, breezy 38 degree day now and the view over the valley reminds me of the Smoky Mountains in miniature.
I love October and the changes it brings but October is also the month I miss where I’ve been. The mountains around Asheville were beautiful in mid-October. I miss my annual drive down a favorite stretch of the Blue Ridge Parkway. I would get away from the university on an October afternoon and cruise with the windows down, the sunroof open, and views of valleys and mountains looking like God had spilled his breakfast bowl of Trix.
But those turning leaves were the preamble to shoveling snow out of my uphill driveway. I don’t miss a dawn snow-shoveling job and I don’t miss walking up the hill carrying my groceries when our road iced over. I had just enough of those days every winter to need an occasional injection of Gary P. Nunn.
I still remember the shock the first time I ordered a barbeque sandwich in North Carolina. I grew to like that pork barbeque, but it can’t replace Texas smoked brisket. The Whataburger bags in the Gary P. Nunn video remind me that I had to learn to order my hamburger “deluxe” if I wanted lettuce and tomato—I thought of lettuce and tomato as regular issue, not extra. A cheeseburger dressed with chili and slaw was another North Carolina shock, but it’s pretty good if you see it coming.
October gives me a little shot of regret, some fond memories, and a sense of contentment. I may miss things about where I’ve been but I’m happy they are where I was, not where I am. A day or two of Texas Hill Country cold reminds me that I‘m glad it will warm back up quickly.
But I have to be careful listening to James Taylor in October.
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