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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Autumn/Fall (08/27/09)

TITLE: Those Were The Days
By Alan Zimmerman
09/01/09


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“Look at the leaves Grandpa!”

“That’s right, Jimmy. The leaves turn to yellow, orange, and red. It’s the first sign of fall. I remember when I was your age I had to rake up all the leaves into big piles in our yard. Then, my dad would burn them. I miss the smell of burning leaves.”

“But Grandpa, wasn’t burning leaves bad for the environment?”

“Well, we didn’t know about those things back then. We just burned them. Anyway, the cool air started to pinch at our cheeks and that meant one thing – football. I remember we played tackle football in the vacant lot until our legs were so tired we couldn’t play anymore.

“And then there was Halloween. We’d start by getting a pumpkin at a local farm stand, cut off the top, clean out the insides, and carve a face into it – the spookier the better, especially when you put a candle inside it on Halloween night. And my brother and I would dress up in costumes and run from house to house saying ‘Trick or Treat’ and trying to get as much candy as we possibly could.”

“Did your Mom and Dad go with you?” Jimmy asked.

“Why would they do that? They were at home giving candy to the other kids.”

“Weren’t they afraid you’d get run over or kidnapped or something?”

“Jimmy, kids didn’t get kidnapped in those days, and we were pretty careful too. But anyway the best part about fall was when Thanksgiving came around. We would go to my grandmother’s house and she would cook up a big turkey and the whole family would sing ‘We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing, He chastens and hastens His will to make known.’ And after that we would get into our cars, drive out into the country, and cut down a Christmas tree. Oh, that beautiful smell of a fresh pine tree. The next day, we would watch the Macy’s parade and see Santa on his sleigh usher in the Christmas season. Then we decorated our tree, and the most special moment was when my dad would put the star on the top of the tree. It was just like the star in Bethlehem! Those were the days, my young grandson, those were the days.”

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“Look at the leaves Grandpa!”

“That’s right, Johnny. The leaves turn to yellow, orange, and red. It’s the first sign of fall. I remember when I was your age I had to blow all the leaves into big piles in our yard. Then, my dad would put the leaves in big plastic bags. We’d line them up like soldiers.”

“But Grandpa, weren’t plastic bags bad for the environment?”

“Well, we didn’t know about those things back then. We just bagged them. Anyway, the cool air started to pinch at our cheeks and that meant one thing – football. I remember we played that John Madden video football game in the family room until our hands were so tired we couldn’t play anymore.

“And then there was Halloween. We’d start by buying one of those foam rubber jack-o’-lanterns at Wal-Mart – the goofier the better, especially when you plugged it in on Halloween night. And they would close off our street and we would have a block party where kids would dress up in costumes and get candy.”

“Did your Mom and Dad let you eat all that candy?” Johnny asked.

“Why wouldn’t they? They were giving candy to the other kids.”

“Weren’t they afraid you’d get fat from eating all that sugar?”

“Johnny, kids didn’t get fat in those days, and we didn’t eat our candy all at once. But anyway the best part of fall was when Thanksgiving came around. We would go to my grandfather’s house and he would deep-fry a big turkey and the whole family would watch the football games together. And after that we would go back home, go up into the attic, and bring down our Christmas tree. We’d spray the air with pine scent so it smelled like the real thing. The next day, we would all go shopping at Macy’s because they would have a Christmas sale going on. Then we decorated our tree, and the most special moment was when my dad would plug in the lights. All that flickering and flashing – it was just like the lights in Las Vegas! Those were the days, my young grandson, those were the days.”


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This article has been read 271 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jennifer Galey09/03/09
I enjoyed the role reversal in this piece. Very funny!
Scarlett Farr 09/07/09
Very clever! Ah what a difference a couple of generations make
Pam Ford Davis 09/09/09
Each generation makes their own memories as you cleverly expressed. It's true things were much simpler in many ways. Thanks for the look at family traditions.
Carol Thon09/11/11
Enjoyed the contrast in generations. Notice you have not contributed for quite some time . . .