Enjoy these Front Porch Moments from Bill and share your favorites with your family and friends. He'd love to meet you at Front Porch ice cream events. Oh, and by the way, his favorite flavor is Nana’s Banana Pudding.

Lack of Fall Stories

I have to admit my failing and apologize for not writing my Southern Fall memories. I have been so busy I haven’t had time to just sit down and think about all those good things that happened so long ago.

For one thing, it seems the older I get the more homecomings I attend. My annual church homecoming was its usual culinary extravaganza. Some of those ladies have been cooking for this event for many, many years and they know what I like: fresh butter beans that I pile on hot white rice, plenty of fried chicken, fresh pork roast, corn on the cob, red velvet cake and, yes, just for me, hot, boiled jumbo peanuts. All of this served with a generous helping of reaqaintances: former pastors, Sunday school teachers and childhood friends.

My Saturdays were spent in similar, if somewhat more sectarian activity: college and high school reunions. This year we all gathered in the parking lot of the football stadium for the designated homecoming football game at one of my old alma maters. Of course, there was the usual mouth-watering tailgate fare but it was the setting that made it all so special. Like so many other institutions of higher learning in the state, fall festoons the throne of academia in a royal robe of bright gold and red and green and yellow and burgundy as it waves its scepter over cheering, strolling, and otherwise time-and-place-connected crowds of alumni who look back at their lives on that campus. Some of the buildings has been torn down, new ones taken their place; old professors long passed away as well of some classmates. But those nostalgia-edited memories will never die.

On those weekends when I wasn’t reuniting with folks, I just felt compelled to join in the festivals that celebrate just about everything in North Carolina. I went all the way from Riverfest in Wilmington to the Dixie Clasic Fair in Winston-Salem and the Barbecue Festival in Lexington. You notice the food connection there. And I finally got back to one of my favorites: The Wooly Worm Festival in Banner Elk. (Like I said, we celebrate everything.) Of course, there are a lot more I’ll try to catch next year.

In between all that traveling and revelry, I had to do some things at home. I mowed my yard for the last time this year. It’s growing slowly but the frost should catch it soon. Of course, there is always that fall chore of raking leaves particularly when you’ve got a yard full of pecan trees. Grandchildren came by to help and we luxuriated in the special feeling between grandparents and grandchildren. Every time we smell burning leaves and the air takes on a little chill, we’ll remember those times we spent together.

I picked the last of the grapes off the old grape arbor in the backyard, picked up the last remaining pears on the ground underneath the trees and put extra straw around the flower beds to keep them warm through the winter.

I bought some candy for the little Trick or Treaters that came by for Halloween. We didn’t have many to venture this far out in the country so I ate what was left; — the candy, not the children.

Humm. Looks like I got some fall memories recorded after all. Seems like the memories just wrote themselves. You can go ahead and ignore that first paragraph.

About Bill Thompson

For over 40 years, Bill Thompson has traveled the Carolinas delighting folks with his commentary on Southern staples: food, farming, music, family and neighbors. He's been the master of ceremonies for hundreds of events celebrating the things that make the South special - from the Hollering Contest in Spivey's Corner to the Wolly Worm Festival in Banner Elk, the Grits Festival in South Carolina, and he's even judged a sweet tea contest in Georgia. In the process, he's had the chance to meet some fine Southerners and hear their own stories. He's authored three books, one named, "Sweet Tea, Fried Chicken and Lazy Dogs: A Reflection of North Carolina Life."