Today is Oct. 1! I love October! I love fall! I was thinking back, as I normally do these days, on all the wonderful things I was able to experience in the fall when I was growing up.

I remember when fall meant revivals. My dad was a full time evangelist so his fall was always booked solid with revival meetings. We don’t have those so much anymore. It makes me kind of sad. I don’t think people back then had any more time than we do today, yet they made time for revival meetings.

I remember when we used to have hayrides and go “trick or treating” to different peoples homes that were members of our church. I remember when dad was pastoring at Shiloh Baptist Church down near Logansport, we “trick or treated” every year around the end of October. One of my favorite stops was at Mrs. Maureen Bagley’s home. She made homemade popcorn balls the size of grapefruit. I loved those things!

She loved coming out to the hay wagon where the kids and adults were and loved letting everyone get their goodies. In our neighborhood, we don’t do the “homemade” stuff, but several of us sit at the end of our driveways with big bowls of candy and the neighborhood kids and parents walk the street. We enjoy seeing the costumes and saying hello to our neighbors. There’s nothing like personal interaction with others. I hope the virus doesn’t change all of that for us this year. Be safe, be responsible but enjoy being outside and visiting with your neighbors.

I remember when.....(this memory goes way back to when I was in first and second grade at Elysian Fields). Our playground had a huge group of pine trees out beside it. My friends and I loved the fall because at recess time, we made “pine straw houses”. You know; you get pine straw in between your feet and push it together and outline your house, then get a pine limb and sweep the floors clean. We had MASSIVE houses back in the day. We used our imaginations when we played.

Sometimes I think we’ve short-changed our kids and grandkids by letting electronics steal the joy of “make believe” and “pretend.” My grandmother, Mongoes, was the best at pretend. She and I would play for hours. I was always going to marry John Wayne. I’m not sure why, but I was. She would play right along with it. We were movie stars, explorers, famous cooks ... anything we wanted to be.

I remember when people learned basic life-skills like manners. “Please; thank you; yes ma’am; no ma’am; yes sir; no sir;” If you didn’t say those things, you got a stern look and/or a “not so gentle” reminder from your parents that sounded like “what do you say?” You knew that meant “you better remember your manners!”

I remember when people learned to count back change, without having to put it in the computer. I loved playing store with my mom when I was growing up. I always wanted my groceries to be something like $6.87 and she would give me a $20.00. I learned, at a very young age, to count back.....”that was $6.87, (then start with pennies).....”88, 89, 90 (then a dime), “$7.00, $8,9,10 and $10 makes $20.” I just lost some of you, right? LOL! If I have a charge these days of $6.87 and give the cashier a $20.00 with two pennies, you’d think I’ve asked to solve the Pythagoras Theorem. I usually just say “never mind” and take back the pennies.

I remember when I didn’t have to “remember when.” Life was balanced. Oh, I know things weren’t perfect, but looking back, it sure seems pretty close to perfection to me now. I’m big on making memories, especially with my family. We love looking back and “remembering when....” As the weather cools, the leaves change and perhaps you find yourself with a little free time, get with a neighbor, a friend, a family member or two and make your own “remember when” moments, and as the old insurance commercial said; “You’ll be glad you did!”

— Dawn Dillard is a proud East Texas gal who loves all things southern especially cooking, music and family. She can be reached via email at