What Irritates You About Autumn?

Do you remember the first time you tried to get your tyke to help carve a pumpkin?

October 22, 2019

Rich from Gurnee writes "Now that we are into fall, we are inundated with all things pumpkin. By the end of October, I want to smash all pumpkins to bits. What about fall irritates you the most?"


Ease up on the pumpkins.

Pumpkins are one of Illinois major cash crops and with all the horrors of our world, can we really find fault with a season that sounds like this?

Sure I have some reservations.

Autumn is the foreboding. It makes us pensive. This is our last stand before the most dangerous season. Remorseless and pitiless. Winter paces on the edge of autumn like a caged tiger.

We need transition. These abrupt romps from summer to winter without an intervention of the softening light would be as cruel as the stark monotony of Southern California.

We deserve some anticipation of the shutdown. The disappearance of our neighbors. The desperate urging of our chilly cars.

But sure. Autumn has its irritations. There is…

The Pumpkin Patch.

 If you have young children, someone in your family will insist on going to The Pumpkin Patch. It won’t be you and it won’t be your kids because kids only know about Pumpkin Patches because you take them there.

Some pumpkin patches are tucked into distant farmlands. Some are suburban pumpkin fun factories with Hayrides or piglet races or the ever popular corn maze. But like any manufactured family outing, the pumpkin patch will defeat you. Throngs of kids gathering in one place for reasons they don’t understand. They wonder, couldn’t we have gotten a nice pumpkin over by da Jewels? Kids are not as impressed by pumpkins as you think they are. Do you remember the first time you tried to get your tyke to help carve a pumpkin? Once you expose the guts of a fresh pumpkin, they are ready to move on with their lives. "Hey Dad let me know when you’re done with that jack-o'-lantern; I hear some legos calling my name."

Our family once decided to combine a vintage locomotive ride with the pumpkin patch. The short train ride stopped where you could pick out a pumpkin and then return on your choo choo train. Well, the train ride was cool but the pumpkin patch was just a grassy knoll with some sorry looking pumpkins that had been kicked off the back of a truck. It was pathetic. But don’t worry. As your kids grow up, one of the first remnants of childhood they are more than happy to surrender is the pumpkin patch.

The only other inescapable autumnal irritation? Leaves. For all the iridescence of the maple trees in October, that colorful tableau is reduced soon enough to raking. My neighbor’s oak tree unloads veritable truckloads of brittle leaves. And those honey locusts yield thin yellow leaves that resist the rake.

But my greatest celebration comes in Autumn. Better than Halloween, Better than sweetest day, better than fresh apple cider warmed with a shot of bourbon. Autumn means the return to Standard time. On a Saturday night in fall, we turn our clocks back one hour. What does this mean? Bars have the option of staying open another hour. Or so I’ve heard.

Better yet. When my alarm goes off Monday morning at 4am, it feels like 5am. And that one hour added to a night of fitful sleep is a gift I will always cherish. Yes. I would barter all the enchantments of one season for that one precious hour of sleep.

This is Lin’s Bin on XRT.


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