Hi, it’s Helen DePrima! September always means harvest and country fairs to me. Although my “farm” now consists of maybe a quarter acre of vegetables, I take as much pleasure in digging potatoes for winter storage and shocking corn stalks as I did growing up on my grandfather’s farm in Kentucky. My grandfather and uncles cultivated with horses and mules ; we never owned a tractor. At an early age, I learned to drive our work team Maude and Dobbin while the men loaded bushels of
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Nowadays, I get my draft-horse fix at the local agricultural fair in late September. A trip to the Deerfield Fair begins with a stop at our favorite French-fry stand which uses only Prince Edward Island spuds, far and away the best for fries. Next stop: real lemonade fresh-squeezed while we watch or hot cider, depending on the weather – some years fair time calls for caps and mittens, other times for sunscreen.
We make quick tour through the needlework exhibition to admire quilts and embroidery and then on to the horse-pulling arena to watch teams of draft horses and oxen move a steel sled loaded with 500-lb. cement blocks. Many of the teams have active careers in farming and/or logging between competitions. The day always ends with a stop for apple crisp or fried dough on the way back to my truck.
Liz Flaherty here. There is a sweetness to September. Not just the smells (oh, yum, apples) or the tastes (oh, yum, spiced pumpkin anything) or the sounds (oh, yum, corn popping), but just how it feels. By the way, no, I don’t have a small fixation on food—I have a great big one.
September gives me a chance to capitalize on that fixation. It is the season of Church Suppers in the Midwest. Our church has a soup supper, the one up the road has a harvest supper, and chicken-and-noodle dinners abound. No one ever keeps track of how much you eat, there is always pie, and you get to see friends and neighbors you haven’t seen since...well, last September.
It’s also football time. Recent events have lessened my love for the NFL, but there’s little that I find more entertaining than elementary, middle, and high school football—you know, when they still play for the love of the game and look so cute in their uniforms. There is always a well-stocked concession stand involved, too. Popcorn, nachos.
Oh. Food again. I thought at first that was the sweetness I was talking about, but in reality it’s the “we gather together” socialness of church suppers and school athletes that give me particular joy in the month. Well, that and the pie.