October is homesickest month.
I may still be wearing tank tops and flip flops, enjoying night after night the most wild African sunsets, but there’s still nowhere I would rather be than home on a sunny October afternoon. October marks the true change of season. September still holds hope for an Indian summer—that last barbecue, last sunbathing day at the beach, last ice cream cone. But in October Autumn well and truly arrives. Boxes of sweaters come down from the attic, close-toed shoes emerge from the back of the closet, and what we eat changes. The summer salad goes the way of the sun dress, along with all that beautiful, fresh produce ripened to perfection in the summer sun. I am sad to see it go. But those hearty meals are back, stews and freshly baked bread, casseroles and mashed potatoes. And—at long last!—pumpkin makes its annual debut. Finally, my year-round obsession with pumpkin becomes normal again. Pumpkin bread, pumpkin pie, pumpkin lattes and pumpkin cream cheese. Toasted pumpkin seeds, roasted pumpkin, pumpkin chips. I love it all. By now, I should be elbow-deep in pumpkin pyuck.
If I were home this afternoon, we would have gone to church. Then we would have all come home and made a leftovers lunch from whatever wonderful meal we’d had the night before. With little else to do, we’d all trundle down the Donut Inn to get a coffee (and maybe a few apple cider donut holes for later) before taking a long walk through the changing leaves. The sun is strong, but the air is crisp—that perfect balance of hot and cold. Sharon, you and I would come back, invigorated from the walk. Then we’d call Julie Potter and beg her for her “Blue Ribbon Pumpkin Bread” recipe, which she’d give to us, so happily. And we’d spend the next hour and half, gingerly putting together the perfect pumpkin bread. We wouldn’t be able to wait for it to cool before we cut into it. The rest, saved for a chilly Monday morning breakfast.