November rich with fun, memories

November is probably my favorite month of the year. Situated between fall and winter, November?s windy weather is the best time to play in the leaves, which have all nearly fallen from the trees.

For football fans, there?s nothing better then sitting in the bleachers wrapped up in a warm blanket, drinking hot cocoa and rooting for one?s alma mater.

For farmers, the majority of crops have been harvested and that?s a good thing.

I also pray it was a successful year for them, too.

Tuesday was election day and I feel so proud to live in a country where I am free to vote for the person of my choice without fear of retaliation by rebel groups.

Speaking of freedom, in less than a week, we will all have an opportunity to thank those who have preserved our right to vote, voicing our personal views and traveling freely at home and abroad.

Like many Americans, generations of my family served in the U.S. military to protect us and preserve our rights.

For personal reasons, I like November because it?s my oldest brother?s birthday and mine, too.

As far back as I can remember, I have always loved Thanks?giving. Even though every year holiday adjustments need to be made, I still have so much to be grateful for.

Randy, me and our children are all relatively healthy. The same is true for our brothers and sisters and their families.

I miss the many people who are no longer here, but I am thankful for the time I did have with them on this earth.

In fact, I was thinking about Thanksgiving when I was a child and how it meant a road trip to my grandparents? farm in Troy.

In the late 1950s and early 1960s, my brothers and I probably should have been counting our blessings a lot more than even today.

The reason I say that is because our father, although a wonderful man in many ways, was not the most safety conscious when it came to car trips.

Unlike a lot of people, my father wasn?t a fanatic about keeping the car tuned up, checking the oil, airing up the tires or doing any other routine maintenance prior to trips.

I remember this one time we packed up the 1964 Bonneville convertible, which in those days was a fairly new car, and headed out to visit my grandparents in Troy. At that time, we lived in Springfield, Ill.

The 350-mile trip took about seven hours on U.S. Highway 36.

For those old enough to remember, that particular two-lane highway was a main artery connecting the country from east to west prior to the interstates. It also had a reputation for head-on collisions. As child?ren, it was probably a good thing I was oblivious to the bald tires, treacherous highway, traveling at night, etc., or I may have not wanted to go.

I remember my parents had a St. Christopher figurine on the dashboard. Because St. Christopher was the patron saint of travelers, maybe they believed they needed a little help, too.

Arriving in Troy, we were so glad to be on the farm. Every year, my grandmother would write out the menu for Thanks?giving. She was a great cook.

Once on the farm, time seemed to stand still. But, as with all good things, eventually we had to pack up the car and head home.

What made this one particular return trip home memorable was because the heater in the Bonneville stopped working just past St. Joseph, Mo.

For all the reasons I love the month of November, traveling in a convertible with no heater was challenging and cold.

It also had to be the coldest night on record with the wind howling through the convertible roof.

All of us started grabbing blankets, coats and whatever else we could find to keep ourselves warm.

My father could barely see out the windshield because when the heater went, so did the defroster, which meant low to zero visibility.

As my dad tried to remain calm, continually wiping the inside of the windshield off with his forearm, my mother was panicking.

As for the rest of us in the backseat, we just saw it as an adventure.

At the time, the situation wasn?t funny, but looking back now, it?s times like those that put a smile on my face when I remember my parents and their own ways of doing things.

It certainly was one of those times when the expression, ?Someday, you will look back on this day and laugh about it,? fit.

After my grandparents died, we started staying closer to home for Thanksgiving, enjoying the company of my parents and two brothers and other friends.

Following the death of my parents, the Thanksgiving holiday changed again. For many years, it became a special time with our children.

Now that our children are young adults, Randy and I are again enjoying road trips.

During the Thanksgiving holiday, we visit my brothers. At Christmas, we see Randy?s brothers and sisters.

A good friend once told me, the only thing constant in life is change.

So as I get ready for another holiday season and new memories, I won?t forget the people who made November the great month it is for me.

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