As the month progresses, residents of the Sandhills region will notice a change. It is a change that causes humid Carolina days to become chilly Carolina nights. The green leaves that once filled the atmosphere with pollen are now beautifying the landscape with hues of red, yellow, brown and orange. And lastly, summer evenings which allowed sports fans to enjoy a friendly game of baseball, now give way to the sounds of cheering fans, leather-clad collisions and referee whistles.
Ah yes, fall is here.
I am particularly fond of the fall season as it stimulates my memory and takes me back to my childhood years. Have any of you ever noticed that the sunlight changes to a different kind of orange during the fall season.
During the summer months and whenever we’re lucky enough to have sunlight, the evening sun is bright and hot. Everything appears brightly illuminated. The leaves also appear to be greener and brighter as well.
However, beginning in early September, at the end of each workday, the sun casts a warm, deep orange glow onto the region and, to me, everything looks different. I attribute this to the change in time — meaning the days are getting shorter and nights become longer.
Getting back to my childhood, I was born in Scotland County, which is about 30 minutes south of Fayetteville and about 12 miles south of the metropolis that is Raeford. Yes, it is the country, but I will proudly say, it’s also home, although I don’t live there anymore.
I am a native of the small town of Wagram, which is the northernmost community in Scotland County. As a child, I would say I was around 11 or 12, each year during the month of September, my grandmother would tell my uncles and I that is was time to prepare the yard for the winter.
What that meant to us was that we had to cut the grass for the final time and rake and burn any leaves that filled the yard from the very huge oak tree that stood near the house. Let me tell you, that was the biggest, and probably oldest, tree I had ever seen. When I was a toddler, it was fully grown and it stood proudly until about a month ago, when it succumbed to old age. But there were always leaves in the yard.
Even though we had to work in temperatures that sometimes dipped into the low-to-mid 40s, it was a happy time for me because we all worked together as four young men on a common mission. We’d begin our chores immediately after we arrived from school and sometimes we would not finish until after dark, but we also always got the job done. The way the sky looks during this time of year is how the sky looked then.
The fall also reminds me of my days as a young football player at Scotland County High School, which, I might add, is home to the current defending 4A state champions.
As the sun sets behind the trees that line Fort Bragg’s western border, it brings back memories of practicing near Pate Stadium in Laurinburg, N.C. Our head football coach, Mike Dubis, worked our behinds off in search of the state title and when the dust cleared each day, we were exhausted, be we really didn’t care because we were 55 young men, working together to achieve a common goal — bringing the state championship back to Scotland County.
Although we fell a little short in our quest (we lost 49-22 to nearby 71st High School in the 1984 Eastern championship game, while finishing with an 11-2 record), for years we remained proud of our achievement.
I also like the fall season because it gives way to another interest — shopping for new clothes. During the summer months, we’re limited to short-sleeve shirts, T-shirts and shorts, but in the fall and winter, the more clothes, the better.
Which means it would be wise to take the opportunity to upgrade your wardrobe with the latest fashions as last year’s apparel is probably outdated.
Now, can someone tell me when denim shorts went out of style?
Take care and enjoy the season.
Until next time, I’m out.