Our front porch is decorated with mums, pumpkins, corn stalks, vines, and other junk. My wife, the highly creative one, loves to decorate. I’ve never had an eye for the aesthetically pleasing, although I do admire the colors in a well-dressed turkey club sandwich.
Like his Maw-Maw, my grandson also has “the eye.” He loves to decorate and knows how to make things look nice. It’s a passion of his and he loves to decorate. When I think about decorations, I think about work.
For weeks, the grandson has been talking about putting up “fall stuff.” That’s his vernacular for fall decorations. A couple of weeks ago, when it was 90 degrees, he was wanting to put up fall stuff and my wife had to redirect his attention and energy.
It just wasn’t time for fall stuff. Honestly, I wasn’t ready either. I love summer and try to hang onto it as long as I can. I wasn’t ready for fall stuff.
There is much about fall that I love. For example, I love the “cooler” temps and the beginning of football season. It’s also a great opportunity to get outside and enjoy a walk. Although I despise pumpkin spice anything, I do enjoy some of the fall foods and the beginning of baking season.
There are also things about fall that I’m not fond of. Like an hourglass running out of sand, the brisk breezes of October will give way to the bone-chilling temperatures of December. It also reminds me of the approaching holidays and the focus on commercialism not to mention that I’ll have to hang the Christmas lights.
As I watch from my comfortable spot on the couch, my grandson, aided by his Maw-Maw, is putting little plastic pumpkins into a glass container that will be placed upon a shelf. He puts them in methodically and creatively. They have already weaved the vines with orange leaves (my wife uses the fancy name garlands) throughout the staircase banister.
After putting in the last pumpkin, he smiles proudly and examines his creation. “Do you like fall stuff, Papa?” he asks.
“I love your fall decorations. You make it look very pretty!” I reply heartily, strategically avoiding the pointed question, but still attempting to boost his self-esteem.
The mention of fall stuff stimulates an area in my brain that secretes some type of substance into my brain resulting in massive amounts of pain and unvoluntary physical reactions, like comments that protrude from my mouth such as, “Really, why do we need to put up all that stuff?” My wife gives me “the look,” but graciously allows me about three to five days to wallow in my misery before I face the inevitable trip to the attic.
My wife, the decorator, has filled our attic with plastic tubs marked “fall” and “Christmas decorations.” It’s been a long time since I’ve been up there. The attic is a scary place.
By design, I am a strategist and planner. My hope is that the fall stuff is in front of the Christmas stuff. Once in the attic, I look around at all the plastic bins. The memory of the pain from putting them away last year begins to reemerge. The stuff looks painfully familiar.
As I peruse our tubs, we have gray, the most-popular, black, orange, and red. Unfortunately, the colors do not represent an organizational structure, but probably what happened to be on sale at the time.
I am not happy that all of the labels are not facing out. As I think back to last seasons I had some help putting stuff away last year.
After moving back and forth through the plastic bins, stacked four or five bins high, I flip bins around to ensure that all of the labels are facing out. “What will the labels say?” I shout from the attic.
“They will say fall decorations,” my wife replies, “There are five or six bins.” I’m amazed that she remembers the number and don’t doubt her memory. I’ve learned to trust her on decorating stuff. I just keep looking.
Like an archeologist on an expedition in the sweltering heat of the desert, I begin to sweat profusely and am getting steamed in the process. After twenty minutes of looking I have reached the end of the line. “I can’t find anything that says fall decorations,” I complain, “everything says Christmas.”
The fact that everything says Christmas frightens me because I know in several months, these will need to come down too. “They’re up there somewhere,” she says, “you put them away.”
Leaving no stone unturned, I begin the process again and find the missing bins.
Fall stuff is seasonal. I guess that’s a good thing.
God created the seasons for a reason. In Genesis it says, “And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years” (Gen 1:14). Seasons were created by God and are a gift from God. They break up the monotony of life and serve as signposts.
The four seasons give us four changes. We have changes in the weather, changes in our wardrobes, changes in our food choices, and changes in our decorating. It also gives us some different things to complain about. It’s too hot, too cold, too windy, too wet.
Life also comes in seasons and that’s a good thing. For most of us, this has been a tough season. Between the pandemic, the strife, the politics, and all the personal stuff we always have to deal with, we’ve all experienced a rough season. But, be encouraged. It’s just a season. It will change.
Just this morning, my grandson exclaimed “Hey, Maw-Maw, we haven’t finished our fall stuff.” So true. Fall stuff is never finished, but it’s not about the product, but the process.
Last year, the grandson was a mere observer in the placement of fall stuff. This year, he is a part of the planning team. A year of seasons made the difference.
There is so much in each season to take advantage of. We can, and must, celebrate the good and deal with the difficult in every season. Through every season, God is faithful. Soon, fall stuff will give way to winter stuff and the cycle continues.
Dr. Wayne Geiger is the Pastor of First Baptist Grain Valley, an Adjunct Professor of Speech, and freelance writer.