Why? The colors of the trees and and the colors of the flowers including that beautiful purple that shows up in the flowers. And I have a love of pumpkins and gourds. They’ve now started growing tiny gourds that look like exactly like pumpkins and they are perfect for decorating. There’s also that scent to autumn, all crisp and clean, the crunch of fallen leaves and indoors the scent of cinnamon and apples.
The taste of fall is apples, cinnamon, baked between a delicious homemade crust and fresh-picked apples all crunchy and sweet, and apples that have been stewed and applesauce. Oh and the apple cider! Can you tell I like apples? Homemade cookies. Yum! And a half dozen pumpkin pies on the counter next to the apple pies with their lattice tops.
Creating a pretty lattice top is a fun trick to learn. Everyone knows it’s woven so it’s up and over, and down and under. Practice makes perfect. Then you can have fun putting twists in it. Seriously, learn to make a good homemade pie crust! There’s really nothing to it. The first couple crusts you make might not be pretty but taste will make up for it. And those scraps that you cut off… grab the cookie cutters and make pretty decorations for the top of the pie. I usually roll them a little thinner then cut them out. I lift them with a spatula and “glue” them to the top with a drop of water on the spot where they are going. I’ve fork pressed the edges of a pie and then covered the edges with “leaves” and “acorns”. But don’t let anything hang over the edge of the pie plate. It looks beautiful when it’s done. Once the leaf is on the pie, take a knife or a toothpick and make veins on the leaves and hash lines on the tops of the acorns.
Why all the baked goods? It’s finally cool enough to actually consider baking. Actually ovens today are very energy efficient and they don’t make the house hotter as they did when our grandmother used them. But really who wants to think about doing much baking with it’s sweltering hot? So all the baking begins again along with homemade bread. And there’s no bread machine in this house. I love to proof my own yeast in a bowl – oh the smell as it awakens. Then I mix it into the flour and begin to knead it. There’s nothing like kneading bread as a way to de-stress.
I just love this time of year so it makes perfect sense for me to write a Halloween/autumn story. And I have another very short one coming out soon in a Halloween anthology with the Exquisite Quills. I’ll let you know about that one when it hits the market.
I thought I’d share two passages from the beginning of my autumn/Halloween/Thanksgiving story. It’s fun and little sexy. (It wasn’t written for children. But it’s just a little sexy.) It’s available on Amazon as a Kindle book and will be available in few days as a Kindle Unlimited for those in the USA. (Don’t have a Kindle and want a copy? Drop a comment and tell me. I’ll get in touch with you.) I’ve listed the international link for it so it goes to your Amazon store.
The peephole revealed a man in a skeleton costume. Angie laughed and opened the door. “Omigod, Matt, come in. You look a little bony. Did you lose weight? Where did you get that costume?” She turned and called up the stairs of the tiny two-bedroom townhouse that she shared with her daughter, “Lissy, come see Matt in his Halloween costume.”
She turned back to her neighbor. Every speck of his face was covered in black and white paint, including the lips that were painted like teeth. “Who painted your face? They did a phenomenal job.”
The skeleton didn’t answer.
“Afraid to talk for fear of messing it up?”
The skeleton nodded.
She stared at the incredible hunk standing before her in his skintight, black and white costume with a hood. It looked like something a speed skater would wear during the Olympics. “Geezzz, if you weren’t such a baby compared to me and didn’t have a steady girl, I’d be all over you. Really, Matt, you need to show off those muscles more often. You’re hot! Very hot! Talk about jumping bones.” She giggled. “Oh yeah!” She fanned her face with her hand and grinned. “Lissy, get down here!”
“Coming,” a young voice hollered back.
At the sound of footsteps, Angie turned and watched her young daughter descend the stairs. Seeing the child’s face was worth it.
“Wow!” Lissy’s eyes grew round with amazement. She sat on a step so she was equal in height to the man standing by their front door. “But, Mommy, Matt has blue eyes and this skeleton has brownish eyes.”
Angie turned back to the man and he shrugged. Panic rose in her and held her stomach prisoner in its tight grip. Had she opened her door to a complete stranger? “You’re not Matt?”
The bouquet was huge and Angie finally put it on the table in the dining area. She pulled out the plastic stake that held a packet of floral preservative and a card. She sprinkled some of the powder from the packet onto the foam block and poured a glass of water over it. Then she opened the small envelope and read the card.
Thinking of you, Tom.
Another small note was folded and tucked with it.
So sorry, I hope I didn’t scare you. When you said Matt’s name, I wasn’t certain what to do. I knew I had the wrong address, but I instantly realized you knew Matt and would direct me to his place. Again, sorry for the mix-up, but it was really nice to meet you. You’re very pretty.
P.S. Matt told me your name.
She laughed, stuck her nose into the flowers, and inhaled their sweet scent. They were so beautiful and their color brightened her little dining room. It was fun getting flowers, even from a stranger.
Since fall has arrived in the northern hemisphere I thought you might enjoy it. Halloween, the way we celebrate it, is not celebrated too much beyond the USA but it’s such a fun holiday and totally child oriented even if that child is almost ninety years old! So what was a grown man (the hero) doing in a skeleton costume? He was headed to a charity auction.
And that opening scene comes right from a true life event! Three guesses who opened the door thinking it was my neighbor doing a dress rehearsal for a big Halloween party in our neighborhood? Oh, yeah! I did. No, he did not send me flowers! It was my youngest daughter who informed me that it was not my neighbor. So there I was alone in the house with my girls, and a total stranger, in a costume, in my living room. I took me awhile to track down who my skeleton was but it turned out he was dating the daughter of a neighbor one block away. I think he might have been more panicked than I was.
Anyway, that incident stayed with me and I played with that what-if idea, hence the opening of the story. If you’d like to read more, Amazon will allow you to read both scenes in their entirety for free. Just click the link.