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We've reached mid-November and the year is rapidly slipping away. The days are growing shorter and there's a definite chill in the air. On a few recent mornings, the field behind the house has been covered in frost. As the sun gets higher in the sky, the frost melts and water drips off the metal roof almost as if it's raining. We had rain Saturday night which continued through the first of the week. The wet leaves stick to our feet and it seems we're always picking them up from the carpet.

Our friends at the farmers' market have called it quits for the year. I visited the market the last Saturday in October and bought young tender turnips, perfect for slicing and cooking together with the greens, crunchy banana peppers for healthy snacks, and three large stalks of broccoli. We enjoyed the broccoli with cheese sauce, along with some fish sticks, a couple of evenings, then used the liquid from cooking the broccoli as the base for making Mediterranean bean soup. Only one vendor returned the first Saturday in November, but he was selling lots of veggies. I purchased some more of his tasty turnips and got enough green bell peppers to make stuffed peppers for a couple of meals.

The first weekend of the month was packed with activities. I spent much of the day Friday at Old Town park setting up for the Renaissance festival. We put up the library tents, constructed the stage floor and made a trip to the hospital to borrow tables and chairs for our guests. I took a break at lunch time and visited the Bank of Gravett's customer appreciation dinner. They provided a chili dog for Jim and a Frito pie for me, plus thick slices of pumpkin bread for a filling dessert. That evening we picked up grandson Matthew and went to Gentry for the Lions' last regular season game. It was an exciting game with a close victory after time expired.

The Renaissance festival was a lively affair, drawing visitors from throughout the area. One lady even remarked that it was more fun than Gravette Day. Again, I spent most of the day in the park, visiting with vendors and guests and strolling around taking pictures of the events. The shows were all entertaining, from musicians to belly dancers to jousting battles, but my favorite was the Royal Gauntlet birds of prey show with its beautiful birds. I enjoyed one of the big turkey legs and some tasty coleslaw for lunch and snacked on scones from the hospital's first aid booth and a sample of kettle corn. It was dark by the time I made my way home, so I took a rain check on a friend's invitation to come by for coffee. I look forward to getting together with him this weekend.

The forecast for frost prompted me to bring all the potted plants inside, some into the living and dining rooms and a few larger pots into the cellar. I even picked the last few green tomatoes this last week and we'll have fried green tomatoes for a couple of meals. I went with Jim on a recent trip to the country when he was called to unclog a drain and put up some weatherstripping. The homeowners gave me some of their windfallen pears and I've been slicing them and enjoying them with caramel dip.

Friday evening we joined friends from the Senior Activity Center for supper at the Mexican restaurant. Then Sunday Jim cooked a big pot of lentils and smoked sausage which fed us for a few days. It's that time of year when families are planning get-togethers, gathering to feast on traditional dishes, sharing recipes passed down from grandmothers, mothers and aunts. Sometimes I wonder what all the fuss is about for, after all, shouldn't we be thankful for our blessings all year long instead of focusing on just one day of thanksgiving?

Alexandra Stoddard, well-known interior designer and author of several books, wrote that what she loved most about Thanksgiving was the emphasis on giving. She suggested cooking for the homeless during the holidays, baking or roasting just a little extra when cooking for family and friends, or inviting a friend or neighbor who doesn't have family nearby to share your meal. Another way to share is to go through your closets and gather warm clothes to take to an area shelter. When you do this as a family you teach your children to think of and act compassionately to those who are less fortunate.

Tomorrow, I plan to travel to Siloam for a dinner with my newspaper colleagues. Since I've been working from home this past year, I don't get to see them often. It will be nice to gather at the office, share a meal and catch up on one another's news. I pray that our readers will also share memorable gatherings with family and friends.

Susan Holland is a longtime resident of Benton County and a reporter for the Westside Eagle Observer. She may be contacted by email at sholland@nwadg.com. Opinions expressed are those of the author.

Editorial on 11/18/2015

Print Headline: Frosts, Fun and Family Gatherings

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