By John Morgan
It looks like we have all managed to get through the dog days of summer in one piece. The days are getting noticeably shorter, the night wind whispers of cooler days ahead. As I write this entry, the sounds of the local youth football game echo off these Northern California hills and the honk of Canadian geese can be heard as they fly gracefully overhead making their seasonal migration to defecate all over the regions parks and golf courses.
Still, it’s all a refreshing change from the screams of kids convinced that the neighborhood pool merits continuous shrieks of absolute terror that are normally reserved for the most harrowing rollercoaster rides or Haunted House’s most frightening “gotcha” moments.
And there is no telling what I will do if I ever get my hands on the entitlement parents who bought their kids that go-cart which terrorizes our neighborhood at random intervals that seem to unerringly coincide with my deep REM sleep patterns! I swear the decibel levels that vehicle puts out must dwarf those of a rocket launch (I will have to confirm with rocket scientists in Russia and China since we don’t make them anymore). When I first heard it, I was convinced that someone had managed to attach an amped up leaf blower to my home’s ventilation system.
My kids pleaded with me to do something about the noise. Now as my family will tell you, I am no shrinking violet when it comes to giving people a piece of my mind – that must account for why I have so little of it left anymore. But when I stepped outside to approach the youth I stopped dead in my tracks when I saw the unbridled joy on the lad’s face as he raced through our streets. In fact I stood transfixed – longing for the days when I could tap into that blissful state with ease.
As I watched him, my thoughts found that magical wormhole in the mind that transported me back to my own childhood. I stood there not only admiring his joy, but easily imagining the fun that my three brothers and I would have careening down our old neighborhood in such a contraption. So, I went back into the house and told my kids that I would have wait to talk with boy’s parents about the noise issue…secretly hoping that someone else would sick the local homeowners associate behavior modifying specialists on him because I no longer had the heart to do it, it must be a younger man’s game.
Where was I? Ah yes, here in the Northern Hemisphere we are just being reminded of the effects that Earth’s gradual axis tilt has on all our lives. We are transitioning from summer to fall, something I have been longing for all summer long! Actually, I have been looking forward to since last Thanksgiving.
In just a few weeks, thousands of visitors will make their way to the apple orchards, pumpkin patches, craft fairs and vineyards known as Apple Hill (one hour east of Sacramento). Our day trip there marks my family’s official kickoff of the Halloween season. If you are ever in the region it is worth the time and effort to check it out. Crowds can clog the streets on weekends, so if you can manage it, I would encourage you to see it during the week.
By mid September, the Bishop’s Pumpkin Farm in Wheatland, California will open for business. This is always our second outing of our annual Halloween seasonal day trips. Hay and train rides, expansive you pick your own pumpkin fields, farm animals and machines, craft items, and food options galore ensure a good time for all. For me, the Bishop Pumpkin Farm manages to strike the right balance of family fun and entertainment value. It is one of those rare attractions, where you come away filled with warm memories of what you saw and did, rather than having those nagging “boy, that sure cost more than I was expecting” moments. Again, if you have a schedule that allows you to go during the weekdays you would be able to avoid most of the heavier crowds and you should enjoy the free weekday parking as well.
So there you have it! Just like a trick or treater that has noticed his bag getting lighter from a hole in the bottom, I too have glanced into my container and noticed there is nothing left other than to thank you for sticking with my bizarre post to the bitter end.