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Fall into Winter

While Walking Autumn’s Last Mile

The Inter-Mountain photos by Shannon Bennett Campbell Scarlet trees distinguish the Elkins Train Depot walkways and provide an area for thoughtfulness.

The warm late October weather we became accustomed to has finally disappeared and we are awakening to colder winds as winter is edging to the starting gate. It is time to watch for a sunny day so one more autumn walk can be taken and allow us to contemplate what lies ahead of us and what we will do about it.

No doubt we will consider the holiday seasons and annual family gatherings which have become quite complicated since COVID has invited itself to join in our social functions. Along with grandmother’s list of dishes to be prepared for the Thanksgiving table, she must also make record of those “vaxed” and “unvaxed.”

We are learning each day that loads of gifts usually distributed under our colorful Christmas trees may be stranded in California harbors. We may think it wise to focus on homemade, local artisan-built presents which can be obtained in several area shops.

Likewise, an answer may lie in getting the oven fired up to produce home-baked candies, cakes, cookies and pies for offerings this year. We may need to pass by the foreign-made items for one year and start grabbing those Nestle’s morsels off the shelves.

After considering these issues, how about the caution we have been given regarding some slow-downs with mail delivery. This speaks of alarm for those who love to send Christmas cards or the ones of us who always take holiday presents to the Post Office a little late in the season. Some obvious course adjustments are required.

Mill Creek bowl-maker Gary Louk, left, presents a wide selection of his craft at a local fair.

We certainly need to assure our children that the reason for the Christmas season has not changed and the birth of Christ will be celebrated, as usual. The lack of truckers will not quiet the choirs singing Christmas carols nor any other traditions that are part of the Nativity. And, I do hope the television announcers will calm down and quit acting like we will not be able to celebrate the season because there are delivery slowdowns. The reason for Christmas was delivered long, long ago.

We will have time to search in kitchen drawers for old family recipes for fruitcake, mince pies, special decorated cookies, walnut and hickory nut candy along with eggnog, molded jello salads and roasted turkey and ham main dishes. This delay problem will probably not affect an absence of calories in our diets.

As we shift our focus this year to visiting with friends and family, we may actually have a little extra time to enjoy one another’s company rather than spend so many weeks involved in the present-buying and wrapping scene that take so much energy.

My last long walking trip usually provides me with enough ideas and directions that resilience takes hold and I gain reassurance that all will fall into place with challenges being successfully overcome. We West Virginians have always had to depend on our resourcefulness. This is a gift from our ancestors.

Our holidays will be special thanks to the thoughtful moments we have hiking on our sidewalks and our forested paths. We will be determined to make them so.

Candy assortments delight all sweet-toothed friends.

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