Im sure most of you have noticed the changing of the leaves, the cooler temperature and the fact that it is now dark by 5:30 p.m. Yes, my friends, the fall season is among us.

This is undoubtedly my favorite time of year for various reasons.

First of all, I love the fact that there are not as many bugs and mosquitoes waiting to swoop down on you as soon as you cross the threshold of your house.

Secondly, I like the fact that you can dress according to the weather meaning, its easier to put on clothes to keep warm than it is to take them off during the summer months.

Thirdly, I relish the fall because it bring us football season. Whether on the high school, collegiate or professional level, there is nothing better than donning the jersey of your favorite teams and tailgating with friends on a Friday or Saturday afternoon.

Now, the most important reason for my obsession with the fall is because it reminds me of my childhood.

When I was a young teen, growing up in nearby Scotland County, my grandmother would choose a day that my uncles and I were to perform our fall clean-up duties. It was much like Operation Clean Sweep, which is taking place this week around Fort Bragg, but on a much smaller scale. Dont get me wrong, we would rake leaves, which was time-consuming (there were four of us and we only had two rakes to cover 1.5 acres of leaves), and we had to cut firewood for the next few weeks.

The raking of the leaves was my favorite part because we had a huge oak tree in our front yard. It served as our only source of shade during the 105-degree summer days that we often endured. Once the leaves fell during the fall, my uncles Larry, twins Donald and Ronald, and I would try to see how big we could make the leaf pile, before we eventually set it on fire (hey, were talking rural North Carolina. That was a way of life). Our biggest joy was getting a running start, then, flipping into the ever-growing oak leaf pile. Wed do this until it was nearly dark and my grandmother, who Im sure watched from inside the house, would remind us that it was getting dark and we still had to burn the leaves to keep them from blowing back over the entire yard. I think once ignited, we had the biggest bonfire in the neighborhood!

And of course, that gave us bragging rights until the next fall.

Its amazing how we found amusement back then. During an age of no Playstations or X-boxes, no cell phones or Facebook accounts, we still found the means to have fun and be productive. And we were never bored.