Fall in the South. Just those words alone can bring a comforting weight to your soul that makes you slow down for a spell. The days get shorter, the nights get cooler, and hopeful promises linger in the air as farmers prepare for their harvest. The stadium lights warm up as our boys start to chant their battle cries from the field house and as the drum major calls for the fight song, you can actually feel your memories being made.
It never occurred to me that fishing with my grandfather in late September would be the genesis of my fall memories. With time, fishing at sunset turned into drill team practice until dinner, and then during the sweetest season of adolescence, ringing my cowbell until my thumbs bled in Davis-Wade Stadium with friends who would one day become my family.
Minutes pass a little slower in Mississippi during October and we don’t seem to mind. It is a time when homecoming festivals feel more like revivals. And while your spirit is flourishing in a stadium or a deer stand, you know you’ve been waiting for this all year.
The leaves turn that heavy shade of red and orange as cotton fields look more like blankets of snow when you ride down Highway 49. Swaying in a rocking chair on your front porch while the potato soup simmers and sharing your home-grown produce with neighbors: these are the moments we often take for granted in the rush of life.
These slow moments in fall that catapult us into the rush of the holiday season. These little moments are found in days of the mundane, but once they are gone you remember them well when the fall wind is on your cheek and the sun is at your back.
The beauty of the season happens all at once. When a grill heats up in Cleveland, someone across The Grove will holler Are You Ready?, all while a father is taking his son dove hunting in Sunflower County for the first time.
Fall is here and she is meant to be relished. Whether you are dusting off your cowbell for the first time in a while, standing in line at Ajax, or watching the Dixie Darlins march the golden field, put your phone down and just soak it in. Laugh with your family and friends, and stay outside until long after the sun has set. Take a deep breath of that Mississippi air and thank God that you are in the SEC Nation, or at the very least you are in the South when Mississippi starts to look a little more like heaven.
Fall blessings to you and yours.