I had the good fortune to make a presentation Saturday at the annual conference of the Iowa Genealogical Society in Marshalltown, about 60 miles from my home.
As I made the drive on a gorgeous (if a bit warm!) early fall day, I was reminded of the beauty of our state. True, Iowa doesn’t have mountains or oceans, but the rolling countryside nestled between the Mississippi and Missouri rivers has a timeless beauty of its own.
With each change of the seasons, the landscape takes on a distinctively new appearance. For many of us, fall is the best season. Although it’s a bit soon for the foliage to explode into its transitional autumnal overcoat of yellows, oranges, browns and reds, there are other memories many of us associate with the season.
After months of nurturing, it’s time for the land to give up its bounty. Fall harvest is critical for farmers and often means long, dirty days in the fields. For city gardeners, it’s a bittersweet time of savoring the final vine-ripened, home-grown tomatoes while covering delicate perennial beds and returning vines, stalks and leaves to the soil from which they sprouted just a few short months ago.
For many of us, our memory banks are personal highlight reels of baseball and football seasons past. It’s time for the major league baseball playoffs and the college football season is already half over. Hockey season is just beginning, despite early season calamities as we had in Des Moines this week where a game had to be stopped because high humidity created an indoor fog.
It’s a time better spent outdoors, anyway. As Humphrey Bogart said: “A hot dog at the ball park is better than steak at the Ritz.”
What are your favorite fall memories? Put them down on paper and include them in your family history project.
And to Marilyn, Lois, Eileen, Carolyn and the others who attended my presentation in Marshalltown, a big thank you. You were a great audience. Although I didn’t get to catch all of her presentations, keynoter Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak did a great presentation on some of the difficult cases she’s tackled in her duties at ancestry.com. An expert in using DNA in family research, she also spoke on that topic. Check out her blog.
Larry Lehmer is a personal historian who helps people preserve their family histories. To learn more, check out his web site or send him an e-mail.
Flickr photo, Fall Colors in Iowa , courtesy of kellyjamesallen.