Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Autumn Traditions

Depending on where you live and to whom you talk, Autumn can mean a lot of things to different people: back to school; sunflowers; football; colorful foliage; pumpkins; Halloween, etc.

When my daughter was young, Autumn meant - apple picking. It was a family tradition. It was a wonderful, fun way to spend a mid to late September weekend day. We were fortunate to have a dozen or more orchards within a two-hour drive of our home. It seems that Johnny Appleseed was generous when he spread his seeds throughout Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont.

To me, apple picking meant manna from heaven. I knew that our booty would soon yield gastronomical delights. Sunday mornings was always the one day that I would sleep in late, but the aroma of apple pies baking in the oven would have me rising earlier that I wished. Our kitchen, transformed into a bakery, would be emanating a bouquet of baked apples, fried apple rings, apple muffins, you name it. Add some vanilla ice cream or whipped cream to the mix and you have creature comforts to soothe the beast.

Alas, things change; traditions die. We don't go apple picking because we tired of it. No, we ceased the practice because of the cost. The cost of running and maintaining apple orchards has risen quite a bit over the years and that cost has been passed on to the consumer, in spite of the fact we are doing the harvesting. For the last three or four years it has been cheaper to buy apples at the super markets.

When the fun and enjoyment are gone, traditions die.
Etymology - the study of word origins.
It can be interesting to learn the source of words that form our English language. I thought I'd tap into my special dictionary, "Fractured Etymology," and research the origin of the word autumn.
I tracked the word down and found it to be attributed to an old Shoshone tribal chief.

His young grandson noticed the leaves changing color and falling from the trees and was confused. He asked his grandfather, "What does it mean?"

The chief, a man of few words replied, "Oughtum get cold soon."

Following is list of words from the last post featuring words from the Fractured Etymology series:

-1. Aftermath - When I had English class
-2. Analogy - Life story of an asshole
-3. Autopilot - One of the stars of the movie "Airplane"
-4. Benign - What an 8-year-old will be on next birthday
-5. Bombadier - Use grenades to kill Bambi
-6. Brouhaha - Giggles from drinking too much beer
-7. Budget - What Yoda says when he needs another beer
-8. Catch-22 - A bust when playing Blackjack
-9. Commercial - What Hershel's mother says when dinner is ready
10. Controvertible - Sedan
11. Donate - The past tense of donut
12. Elixir - What a man does after he kisses that low
13. Ennui - Where tears form
14. Experiment - The hardened wads of gum found under counter tops
15. Feline - Where you wait for hours to pay your registration
16. Forgo - What you do after foreplay
17. Hortense - How the hooker felt when she was busted
18. Larceny - Posting "The Far Side" cartoons against cartoonist's wishes
19. Minuscule - Kindergarten
20. Oxymoron - The dude who sells Oxy cleaner on those Infomercials
21. Pasteurize - Where your eyebrows are found
22. Piston - Much worse than pistoff
23. Rectum - What happened to the cars in a head-on collision
24. Rhubarb - Ru Paul's sister who dresses up as a man
25. Voluptuary - Where Victoria's Secret models live.



Nankin said...

I remember picking apples when we lived in Illinois. There aren't many orchards in Texas. I do miss doing things like that and baking the pies afterwords.

Skunkfeathers said...

Yep...'twas a fall tradition in Iowa, too. Now, when an apple tree drops an apple and we callously pick it up, we can be sued by a UN panel for plant rights, since the apple "belonged to the Earth", and what right did WE have to take it?

Which brings me to: what's worse than a busload of lawyers going over a cliff? An empty seat or two on the bus... ;)

Christina said...

Never went apple picking - sounds like fun. When I was little we had a grapefruit tree in the backyard and the night before the first hard freeze of the winter we would go out and pick all the fruit off the tree. So grapefruits have always made me think of winter since then...

Hale McKay said...


For a family with kids, apple picking is a fun thing to do. Then later you get to reap the rewards, especially the pies.

Hale McKay said...


Worse still - it was only one bus.

Hale McKay said...


I guess that makes us even - I've never been grapefruit picking.