Generally Speaking: Come ye thankful people come

By MARILYN TINNIN COLUMNIST,

Fall is definitely in the air at long last, and we have just had several days of cold weather, really cold weather, a blessed relief from those 90 plus degree days that persisted even as the calendar inched closer to Thanksgiving!

Charles and I were finally able to have a fire in our fireplace. I think my idea of heaven may be lots of time sitting by a fire, wearing my fuzzy socks and flannel pajamas with a pen in hand and a journal in my lap — and eating pizza on Friday nights! Just kidding. I know heaven will be even better than my favorite perch and my favorite comfort food! 

Oh, but I love everything about fall and always have. Labor Day, in my childhood, used to mark its beginning. The school doors opened. We parked our white Sunday shoes in the closet along with our swimsuits and white shorts. We put on our black patent leather “Mary Janes” and our “dark cotton” dresses and packed up our “book satchels” (the forerunner of backpacks) as we took our place in line outside the doors of the elementary school. By mid-October we had probably pulled out our winter coats once or twice.

By the time we had our Thanksgiving play at Lockard Elementary we had thoroughly studied Indians, Pilgrims, and Plymouth Rock. Some of us learned how to make an Indian frock out of a paper sack (I am not kidding) and those with mothers who knew how to sew donned Pilgrim costumes that were way more substantial than my paper sack costume.

Thanksgiving, in my memories, will forever include a quite visual mental clip of Lockard Elementary. Those were happy days, and although I did not know it at the time, important days that had more than a small role in shaping my worldview ever after.

But these days, legitimate fall weather seems to arrive later and later every year.  I am always overjoyed to welcome it! I love the crisp mornings, hugging a mug of very hot coffee and putting on an extra layer before leaving the house. I love the sight of orange, red, and yellow leaves pressing themselves against a brilliant blue sky. They frame my entire coming and going view for a precious few days before they fall to the ground covering the streets and roadways in my neighborhood. It’s a little messy at that point, but if I could paint, I would capture the sheer glory and beauty of it so that I could look and remember this season in those unforgiving hot days of August and September —  just as a reminder that something better is coming.

My little writing space at home looks out on our front yard and the street beyond. There are many joggers, walkers, baby strollers and dogs on leashes that parade by all day long. I can tell by the way they walk this week that they love this weather as much as I do. There is a distinct spring in everyone’s step, and no one is grimacing as though he may collapse with a heat stroke any minute!

Here, I am surrounded by photographs of family and friends, all chronicling decades of my journey. They make me smile, but it wouldn’t take much to send happy tears spilling down my cheeks. I guess I am having a moment of real clarity counting my blessings and realizing all the blessings I have lived, and that in this crazy and chaotic and uncertain world, it is a wonderful thing to be conscious of the constant presence of God around us in every single aspect of our lives.

I wish I had these kinds of reality checks more often.

My frequent advice to my adult children and also to myself in the middle of the unknown is to “Remember what you know.” We do not know what the future holds, but if we know the Lord, we know He holds that future. We can rest in that certainty.

As we get a little closer to Thanksgiving, I challenge you to “remember what you know,” too. This is a warm up to celebrating Thanksgiving…to be continued next week!

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