Since I was a little kid, fall was always a magical time for me.  When I was still in grade school, by the time summer was halfway over I was already anxiously anticipating the arrival of fall, the beautiful weather, even if short-lived in Chicago where I grew up, and the start of the football season.  Of course everything has a down side and for me it was that it also coincided with the start of school

     Even as an adult (my wife might take some exception to "adult" ), it remains my favorite season; the weather here in northern Virginia is usually just about perfect for my taste; with reasonably warm days and pleasantly cool nights.  I love that early morning and late evening crispness in the air and the bright colors as the foliage begins to turn.....and now I don't have to worry about the start of school!

     One of the fall rituals I vividly remember as a kid in Chicago was raking the leaves.  Not that raking leaves was, in itself, all that wonderful; but my Dad made it enjoyable.  I may have been the only kid in my neighborhood who actually wanted to rake leaves.  We had 10-12 Oak and Maple trees on our property, along with a Tulip tree which had huge leaves, and my dad and I usually did the chore together on Saturday afternoons.  Usually, as soon as we got them raked into a pile I'd jump in them and throw them all around.  My dad would laugh, but then I got the job of raking them back into a pile the second time on my own. 

     The leaf pile attraction must be hereditary as all three of our daughters did the same thing when they were kids. 

The pictures at left and below were taken in mid-Sep 1975 when we were living in suburban Chicago; Denise and Brandy playing in the leaf pile I'd just raked up. 


In the shot below, Caroline is jumping into a pile of leaves in our yard in Virginia in the late 1980s.  






     And the tradition continues.....  On a beautiful late fall day in 2002 I was doing some yard work.  It was 10 November, the anniversary of the creation of my beloved Marine Corps, and Hil and I were meeting a Marine buddy that evening for dinner and a couple beers to celebrate.  Since I'd taken the day off, I was catching up on a couple chores before getting ready to go meet Larry (may he rest in peace). 

     After raking the leaves into a pile in the side yard, I had gone around to the back to rake there.  Within about 10 minutes I heard laughing and squealing coming from the side yard and I went to see what was going on.  When I got there, I found that our oldest daughter and the grandchildren had come over for a visit.  Cameron and Sydney had made a bee-line for the leaf pile where they were rolling around, giggling, and throwing leaves at each other under their mother's supervision  

The picture above shows Denise  with her children, Cameron and Sydney, playing in the leaf pile I'd just raked in our yard.


And "continues to continue"...  On 22 October, 2011 we all gathered at our house to celebrate our youngest daughter's birthday.  It was late afternoon and Sydney and Cameron took Caroline's daughter out in the back yard to play.  When Caroline and I went out to check on them, this is what we found.

All three of the grandkids were playing in a leaf pile in the back yard.