The most wonderful time of the year

Gray Hughes

I’ve written about three seasons before, but I have yet to write about my favorite season: fall.

For me, in my post grad life as a journalist, fall starts the day I cover my first high school football game. This year, fall started on Aug. 28. You could say that’s early, but I don’t care.

As I am writing this, I am sipping on a pumpkin spice latte I got this morning. I’m wearing my Friday fall “uniform,” too: crew neck sweatshirt from my alma mater, Bean Boots (also known as duck boots) and a pair of jeans. There’s a crispness in the air here in Hill City. The summer tourist season is all but over. Life is calm.

Fall has always been my favorite season. I’ve written about one of my favorite parts of fall before (the return of school), but there’s so much more.

First, the weather is the best. I’m really not a fan of heat, so the chillier days of fall provide a great reprieve. To me, the perfect weather day is a high in the low 60s and a low in the mid 30s with sun. That just screams fall, and we have plenty of days like that.

You could say that we get that same weather in the spring, and you would be right. You could also say that spring is better because we get things growing and in bloom. Once again, you would be correct that, yes, things do grow in the spring. But nothing beats those fall colors we get on the trees.

While, yes, the orange and red leaves I used to get back on the East Coast were nice, but the yellow leaves here are just as beautiful. Just that makes fall better than spring.

Second is the food that we eat. Fall, for me, is the season of food. We have two holidays in which food plays an integral role: Halloween and Thanksgiving. While we are still months away from those two holidays, the food is still the best.

Fall marks the return of the slow cooker, bringing us delicious meals such as pot roast and chili. Fall also brings with it squash dishes, mac and cheese and tomato soup with grilled cheese. And that’s just the main dishes. Fall also brings the best desserts. Things like pumpkin bread, apple cider donuts, pumpkin pie and chocolate chip cookies are really things that I stay alive for.

And then, of course, there’s the Halloween food (read: candy) and Thanksgiving food: turkey, stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes. I mean, who doesn’t love those?

And what goes best with fall food? Why, fall beverages do! And there’s one fall beverage that reigns supreme. I’m talking, my friends, about the pumpkin spice latte.

To my friends, my love of pumpkin spice lattes is well known. And, trust me, they make fun of my love for my beloved PSL all the time. But I don’t care.

There’s just something about that sugary drink. I could write a whole column about my love of pumpkin spice lattes, and I just might by the time this season is over.

Maybe my love of the pumpkin spice latte comes the memories that come along with it. I have fond memories sipping a pumpkin spice latte in Boston on an AP English trip my senior year of high school. That first sip puts me back to when I was 17, I just got into my top college and life seemed wide open. It’s funny how a bite of food or a sip of a drink can take you back to a different time.

But fall isn’t just about the return of our favorite fall foods and drink. Fall also brings out flannel. I’m a big fan of flannel — be it flannel sheets or a nice flannel shirt. The day that we break out our flannel sheets and flannel shirts, in my opinion, should be a national holiday.

And it’s not just flannel that I love. Sweatshirts, jeans and Bean Boots make their triumphant return. It’s in these clothes that I’m most comfortable.

And then there’s sports. Fall has so many sports, and, in a normal year, there would be plenty of sports to go around. But COVID changed the landscape of sports in the spring, which pushed many championships to the fall. In the span of a couple of months, we’ll have the NBA, NHL and MLB crowning champions. Plus there’s football, which just screams fall.

So, yes, fall is my favorite season. It always has been, always will be. If it was fall year-round, I’d be very happy.

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