Sweltering temperatures soaring in the 90-degree range makes one wonder if autumn will ever return below the Mason-Dixon line, but with prayers and patience, Southerners too will soon enjoy the splendor of September fall days. Beautiful hues of orange and yellow and red lay hidden until the shorter days of September.
Watch diligently for hints of a new season and welcome fall with great revelry and celebration. Choose some of the holidays below for memory-making or create unique autumn adventures for those you love.
National Rice Month — On one of the cooler evenings this month, add a dish of brown rice to the meal to warm the hearts of those dining with you. In a casserole dish, combine 1 cup of uncooked white rice, 1 can of beef broth, 1 can of condensed French onion soup, 1/4 cup of melted butter, 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce and 1 teaspoon dried basil leaves. Bake uncovered for 45 minutes on 350 degrees
Mayflower Day — On Sept. 16, 1620, the Mayflower set sail from Plymouth, England, for the New World. Though the plan was to land in Virginia, rough weather and navigational difficulties sent them to the New England area instead, where they founded a settlement in late December of that year.
Celebrate this moment in history with a soap-boat race. Begin with a bar of Ivory soap. Use a melon baller-style scoop to hollow out the top of the bar. (You can also use a non-plastic, round teaspoon measuring spoon.) Glue a triangular piece of cloth or decorated construction paper to one end of a wooden craft stick for the sail. Gently press the other end of the stick into the bar of soap. Race the soap-boats in the tub or a kiddie wading pool in the backyard.
National Respect Day and National Courtesy Month — With everything that seems to be going on in the world, both of these holidays should be encouraged, or even mandated, to all inhabitants of the planet. Have a family discussion about kindness and respect for others. Talk about how our actions and words affect those around us. End with one or more of the many children’s books available on the subject. Simply Google “manners” and an entire library will show up. A cleverly written example is Do Unto Otters by Laurie Keller.
Collect Rocks Day — Go for a long walk one evening and collect a handful of interesting rocks or pebbles. Bring the rocks back home and use them for a hopscotch game.
Draw the hopscotch squares on the driveway and number each square in order or, for variation, jumbled. Each person chooses one of their rocks for the tossing marker. On his or her turn, a player tosses his rock into the first square, then hops on the second square and beyond until reaching the final square. On that player’s next turn, he or she tosses the rock to Square 2 and hops in each of the other squares, in order, without landing in Square 2. The game continues for each player until the rock is tossed in the final square and players jump over that square. If a player’s rock doesn’t go in the correct square or if a player’s feet land on a chalk line, he or she misses that turn and must try again. The first player to complete the squares in order is the winner.
Library Card Sign-Up Month — Does your family have a current library card? Hopefully, the answer is “yes.” Celebrate the day by taking the family on a library outing. Use your card to check out several books from the Statesboro Regional Public Library. After safely placing the books in your vehicle, take the family on a walk downtown. Stroll along the sidewalks of Main Street or jump onto the Willie McTell Trail, a walking trail with access in several parts of downtown, including near the back parking lot of the library. Enjoy the family time and include a refreshing treat from some of the nearby restaurants, if desired, before heading back home for an evening of family reading time.
Make it an awesome autumn with much time spent outdoors, anticipating the changing of the leaves and temperature shifts. Take in a few football games; let down the windows in the car and enjoy the aroma of freshly mown farmers’ fields; or shop local produce stands and make homemade applesauce. Celebrate with gusto a new season on the horizon and make memories to treasure with those you hold dear.
Statesboro native Julie Bland Lavender is married to David Lavender and enjoys celebrating with children Jeremy, Jenifer, Jeb Daniel and Jessica.