Minnesota

Favorite Things – October

Anne Shirley says it best – “I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”

It has always been my favorite month. Those advertisers may make fun of us for our love of pumpkin spice, our UGG Boots, or the black leggings and denim button up outfit.  The leaves are turning, and falling in my backyard. The light is changing and life continues to transition. Soon, I’ll opt for a warm latte instead of iced.

Truth is I don’t really love the aftertaste of Pumpkin Spice lattes, Colorado girls make fun of California girls who wear UGGS, and it has really been too warm to wear scarves, or even long sleeves. Instead I’m dreaming of these things.

Here is my list of things to love in October.

  1. Candy Corn

Yes. Starchy blocks of dyed sugar. Yes! I have a hard fast rule that I’ll only eat the crap in October, and I must wait for the 1st to roll around before I’ll purchase a bag. A handful a day keeps the October haters away. The little condensed sugar pumpkins? Even better.

2. A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meissner

This story technically takes place in September, but it counts. Historical fiction that blends story from 1911 to September 11, 2001. A story with heart that kept me on the edge of my seat. Or rather in my seat, turning pages.

3. Pumpkin bread.

I don’t like Pumpkin Spice, but my gosh do I love pumpkin bread. We have a family recipe from the Recipes from Minnesota With Love cookbook that is heavenly. Cut the sugar in half though and add chocolate chips. Let your inner Mid-Westerner out.

PS. I can’t believe I found this cookbook online. My dad would chuckle. You can buy canned pumpkin online eh? Take that grocery stores who always run out. Oh, the poor grocery stores.

4. Short Boots

Forget the Uggs. I want things like this in my closet. Role up the bottom of your jeans. Wear a sweater. Strut your stuff.  I’m just currently drooling and did not actually buy these beauties. Oh? You want to send me a pair? Sure! I’m a size nine.

5. Football is back.

Sure, I have lots of mixed opinions on the NFL and football players safety and their rattled noggins. It seems that any industry these days is having its fair share of controversy, and people have to be brave to take a stand. Cheers to those practicing their rights to pray on the field.

For me, right now, I’ll just take comfort in the noise of the game on a Sunday. Sunlight streaming in in the afternoon. Memories of my dad. The announcers voice. A beer with my father-in-law – probably a Blue Moon or a Michelob Ultra. Back against the couch, legs sprawled on comfy carpet. Loved ones around. All good, and beautiful things.

What’s on your list?

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To Dad

One of the last questions my dad asked me was, “What’s with the Jiff in the cupboard?”

My dad was loyal to his peanut butter. Skippy brand. Super Chunk. No other way.

“Sorry Dad,” I said, “I think it was the cheapest option.”

That is one thing we have in common. Being cheap – or rather, as we prefer to call it, being “bargain hunters.” Dad and I, we love a good deal.

There are a million things to remember and miss about a love one taken too soon. I’m sure this list will grow as I continue to get older and I hope that the space my dad fills in my heart continues to expand, rather than shrink over time. For now, in the tsunami of emotions that come with this perplexing event, here are some of the things I will forever love about Dad.

He has this horrendous hat that he would wear on the weekends. The black fabric was bleached with sweat and salt from mowing lawns, or cleaning house. He refused to get rid of it though, because it was a gift I gave him during my freshman year of college. He wore the baseball cap with the University of Colorado logo often, and would cheer along with my alma mater proudly. In a family of Rams, Dylan and I are going to miss his Buffalo solidarity.

In fact, he refused to get rid of a lot of things. Our Disney VHS collection still exists, my artwork from elementary school, a ticket stub from a Rockies game, toys from his childhood, swim noodles to keep because you just never know when you may need to go for a dip in the lake. I love his appreciation for the little mementos that others discard. These collections have made up his life.

I’m going to miss ordering his tall Pikes Place cup of coffee when making a Starbucks run. Black – no cream, no sugar. I’ll miss making fun of his dance moves, and the way he would text us informative articles from Yahoo.com as he perused the internet each evening. I’ll miss snacking with him as we cooked meals together, filling up on chip crumbs and cheddar cheese before the main entrée ever made it to the table. Cinnamon ice cream and cookies for breakfast will forever be eaten in his honor.

You can’t end a reflection like this with a best, or a favorite, or even a most prominent statement. The things I love about my father continue to blend, and meld together, swirling to create beautiful images of the man God gave to me to be my dad. When asked the question, “Will you love your dad forever?”, I have to answer with his default Minnesotan response, “Oh, you betcha.”

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