James Taylor

I Love Fall! (Or Is It Autumn?)

Fall is my favorite season. I have loved it since I was a young Cincinnati girl growing up on Vittmer Avenue, a cul-de-sac lined with large oak trees that turned bright yellow, brown and orange in October.

When I moved to Florida in the late 80’s, I missed fall so much that I traveled with Ray to Maine trying to “time” the peak colors each year. When we finally bought a home there, we stayed until mid to late October when our “leaving” tree would tell us it was time to go. That’s what we called a beautiful birch tree in our yard that turned bright colors before shedding its leaves and ushering in the beginning of winter.

fall pic

And now, living in one of the most desirable “leaf peeper” cities in the country – Asheville, NC – I get to see the spectacular changes in color at several different elevations over about six weeks. Traveling on the Blue Ridge Parkway almost every day – only 5 minutes from my home – is incredible.

Here are a few of the reasons that I love fall so much…

  • The changing colors of the leaves always amaze me. I take more pictures in the fall than in any other season and most of them are of yellow, red and orange trees glowing in the sunshine. My cell phone has at least 100 of those photos right now. Here’s one:

Tree in yard

  • The air is crisp and clean. I have good hair days, I can wear light jackets and there’s a spring in my step. Lexie, our Labradoodle, is thrilled because she gets to be outside with us – running around the yard, hiking or going to festivals called Pumpkinfest, Octoberfest or Pecan Harvest Fest in small cities all over Western North Carolina.
  • I enjoy a fall wardrobe. I look better in sweaters and scarves, and they feel “cozy”. Bathing suit and bare legs season is over (thank god!) And, fortunately, orange, yellow and black clothing looks good on me.
  • Halloween is a great holiday. I like the scary ads and ghost stories, the Halloween pop-up stores, corn stalks, pumpkins, candy corn and parties. I don’t go to the haunted houses, but I read about them and might just get courageous enough to walk through one someday.
  • A fire in the fireplace on those first cool evenings is a special treat. The hypnotic flames, combined with the smell and warmth of a fire, makes me want to bundle up on the couch with a blanket and listen to James Taylor and Bruce Hornsby.
  • It’s time for crockpots and chili – my kind of comfort food! And, I love the strange looking squash, the thousand varieties of apples and the weird-shaped pumpkins that are everywhere – in stores, restaurants and at roadside vegetable stands.
  • It’s great to decorate the house with fun things … witches, ghosts, black cats, pumpkins, candles, cinnamon brooms, door wreaths and mums. And, the color orange – a bold, optimistic and uplifting color – is everywhere you look!

Just one thing has been bugging me this fall. For the first time that I can recall, it dawned on me to question why this wonderful season – unlike the others – has two names: fall and autumn. If you don’t know the answer to this either, I found a blog that seems to provide an answer. It seems to be one of those British vs. American things!

Whether you call it fall or autumn – it’s a great time of year, so enjoy!

Cathy Green

 

Keeping Music in My Life……

I attended two concerts this past week in my newly adopted home town of Asheville – one bluegrass and one rock. I also bought tickets for four live music events coming up in July and August. It made me think about music and its place in my life.

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When I was young, my dad sang with a barbershop quartet and with the church choir. He had a wonderful, deep bass voice. My mother played the piano and sang with a lovely Johnny Mathis “trill”. My brother played guitar and sang during high school and became a professional musician for many years. (At 56, he still does gigs with several groups around Cincinnati). When we were in our early teens, Dad and Mom would take us to hear the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra a few times a year and to occasional musical theater productions like my favorite, West Side Story. I loved these outings.
 
I sang with the church choir, I played the accordion, I was the band director in grade school, I sang in several high school plays, I learned to strum the guitar in college, and I even sang with a trio at an early 70’s company talent show.
 
Then, I lost music for awhile in my 20’s and 30’s. I was very busy with a career and I “didn’t have time”. I also didn’t have someone in my life who shared my musical interests.
 
When I met Ray, our romance began with a dance. Soon after, we were sharing music on “tapes” (remember those?) We painstakingly compiled favorite song tapes (not easy 25 years ago!) and sent them to one another. We went to jazz clubs and local beach bars. We saw as many live performances as possible … local musicians as well as nationally known artists. We watched concerts on tape and later on DVD. We hired local musicians for company parties and for our own parties. We always entertained with music in the background.

eltonjohn.com

eltonjohn.com

Over the years, I’ve been able to see James Taylor, Elton John, Lyle Lovett, Steely Dan, Billy Joel, Phil Collins, The Steve Miller Band, Joe Sample, Kenny Loggins, Michael McDonald, Willie Nelson, Kenny G, Diane Schuur, Patti Austin, Ray Charles, Dr. John, Bonnie Raitt, Dave Sanborn ….. and many, many more. Next month, I’ll see Sheryl Crow and Boz Scaggs in North Carolina. In December, it will be jazz (Fourplay) in the Big Apple.
 
I admit it – Ray and I are probably a little over the top when it comes to listening to music and attending concerts. Hearing loss issues – both our own and some of our other “mature” friends – keep us from turning up the volume too much during cocktail parties. But we still crank it up when we’re alone.
 
I believe that music helps keep us young. It definitely keeps our brains active. Who knows, it may even be helping to slow down Alzheimer’s!!!!
 
Here’s a wonderful quote that I like:
“Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without” – Confucius

But here’s the one Ray likes:
“Play it fuckin’ loud!” -Bob Dylan

Cathy Green
P.S. Does music play a big part in your life these days? If so, let us know about it.

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