I am sorry that the deadline for last week's Gray Matter about Benjamin Radcliffe, came before I learned that the Radcliffe Family had been given special recognition at the Marcus Fair.
Had I been at that event, I'm sure I would have adapted my piece a bit. Too, it was great to hear of the bench being gifted to the Fair by the Treinen's in Merle's honor. Tributes could not have been made to two more deserving gentlemen and their families.
While all of this was taking place, more than 100 direct descendants of my in-laws, Fred and Annie Dorr, were gathering for a Cousins' Reunion. Organizing an event that large involved a great deal of planning, which I left to younger heads.
Still, my house turned into a sort of "Reunion Central," and I didn't want to miss out on visiting with as many as possible, so I spent only a minimal amount of time at the fairgrounds. Missing seeing so many of you was the only down-side I can report.
Now, with only the Clay County Fair left, and with school starting, it's time to face the fact that summer is over.
I still think it was a much better plan when local schools began after Labor Day and colleges started classes in mid-September. Though I'm not aware of it, I'm sure there must be some logical explanation for the current practice. But, as a wise friend has been quoted as saying, "Don't bother giving me the facts, my mind's made up."
For myself, I have never minded fall's coming. As a child, I always loved school so that was a big part of it, but there were other reasons for my fondness for autumn. We had a big orchard and grape arbor, so I often climb up in an apple tree, after raiding the grape vines and plum thickets, to polish off what might be called a "gourmet fruit bowl." While our own kids were growing up, we had quantities of fresh garden produce and there was a great apple tree in the back yard, but it never quite measured up to all my dad had to offer.
In addition to Mother Nature's bounty, I have always been in awe of her decorating skills. Drive slowly through the countryside before long and marvel at the warm russets of some of the soybean fields after the leaves are shed. Others, still keeping their foliage, may be a deep green while another variety will have turned pure gold. Cornfields will offer their own unending variations. When some leaves and stalks are golden ripe, others may still be green with even rows of pale, husk-enclosed ears providing a contrasting waistband. Such a lovely patchwork laid out from horizon to horizon.
Trees are equally fascinating. Each species has its own unique pattern of turning color. Some leaves go from green to gold, others to shades of brown, before they fall. And most spectacular, are the ones that turn to reds, everything from scarlet to maroon, and all variations in between.
The colorful display is brief but it warms the heart and is meant to be enjoyed. I am convinced that it is Nature's way of filling us with enough warmth to sustain us through the white and crystal season to come, and to make sure we'll be ready for her fresh display of color when spring returns.
Do cherish your Fair memories and enjoy Mother Nature's panoramic display now that the splendid autumn season will soon be upon us.