Dear Sunday Letter friends,
This past week, I spent most of my time working on behind-the-scenes things associated with writing. (This means I don’t have much to show for my time…)
One thing that happened—I heard from the director of my play, Last Call at the Dairy Freeze. He said rehearsals are going well, and the cast is fantastic. Honestly, the idea that my play has a director and a cast astounds me. And to my friends who are planning to attend, you astound me too!
No idea what I’m talking about? Well, I wrote my first play, and it will be performed soon in Eureka Springs as part of Five & Dime Drama Collective’s Fall Performance Series. Click HERE for more details. Yes, I’ll probably be talking about this at least until it happens November 8-10, and maybe afterwards too.?
This time of year, during harvest, I always notice the small rural cemeteries in fields throughout Arkansas. The combines and cotton pickers move through the fields providing a sure sign of changing seasons. After soybeans are threshed and bolls are picked clean, these old cemeteries are easier to see, stark against the sky. Winter is coming whether we like it or not; the circle closes on another year. Old tombstones, some dated before the Civil War, provide a sort of permanence, a reminder that life will continue, one way or another.
I like to think of these markers as guardian angels.
These old cemeteries also remind me that no matter how things seem in the moment, the folks laid to rest at the edge of a cotton field or on a riverbank had hard, exhausting lives with none of the luxuries, freedoms, advantages we enjoy (and often forget we have).
A few years ago, I wrote a post on Angels in the fields of Arkansas which you can read by clicking HERE. It’s one of my favorite posts and always provides a trip back home for me.
Black Walnut Missiles
We have two huge black walnut trees, one on either side of our yard. This time of year, walking down the driveway or around to the side gate means dodging black walnuts that drop like missiles.
Taking the garbage out can be treacherous during fall.
And believe me, black walnuts are extra plentiful this year. Our mighty busy squirrels try to hoard most of them, stopping to eat a few which leaves a nasty trail of a mess everywhere.
Don’t get me wrong, our black walnut trees provide great shade. But I wouldn’t be sad if they were pecan trees instead. Bottom line, it’s easy to slip on one of these baseball-sized walnuts and twist an ankle, or worse, get bonked on the noggin with zero warning.
We pick them up by the bucketfuls and then two days later, the yard is covered again. (And by we, I mean John.)
Not kidding—when one falls against our neighbor’s tin shed, the sound is like a gunshot.
I tell you this to say… if John and I go missing for any period of time, someone check our back yard to see if we’ve been knocked out by black walnut missiles (and ravaged by wild squirrels).
It could happen.
Y’all the Razorback football team is so sad this year. I know not everyone who reads my Sunday Letter gives one hoot about football in general or the Razorbacks in particular. But college football is a tradition for our family. Yesterday, we watched the game on television. John has this hope-springs-eternal attitude when it comes to his Razorbacks. This sets him up for a major letdown. I expected a complete shut out and was pleasantly surprised.
When the game finally ended, we took Lucy and Annabelle for a walk and saw the stream of cars leaving Fayetteville as they drove right through our neighborhood, fans looking beat down and deflated.
I fear this car flag we saw on the side of the road pretty much sums the rest of the Razorback football season.
Hopefully the flag fell off a car and wasn’t thrown away in disgust. At the beginning of the season, we easily get caught up in the excitement and forget it’s just a game. In fact, perhaps the reason football exists is to keep us humble. (Except in the case of Alabamans who must find humility somewhere else.)
Since I graduated from Baylor, I probably don’t have to remind you of our crazy high and embarrassingly low years.
The highs sure are more fun.
Halloween will be knocking on our doors in 11 days.
When we lived in Dallas, we bought bags and bags and BAGS of candy because we had carload after CARLOAD of trick or treaters who came to our neighborhood seeking chocolate.
Here in Fayetteville, we also have lots of trick or treaters. It seems we prefer to live in Halloween-popular neighborhoods.
Finally, we have learned to stop buying candy early. Because you know what happens. Someone opens the bag several weeks before Halloween and then—BAM—it gradually begins to disappear, mostly at night when the television is on.
You know what’s bad? Being reminded of last night’s sinfulness in the form of an empty candy wrapper glinting on the coffee table.
Okay, confession, we do usually have a bag of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups on hand year around because it’s our favorite. And we have convinced ourselves that since a main ingredient is peanut butter (and peanut butter includes nuts and nuts are high in protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals), they are practically healthy.
See? We can justify most anything.
And by the way, if you love chocolate and baking and you’ve never taken a look at the Hershey’s Recipe Website, oh~my~word, do it today. There are so many amazing recipes, and you can filter by your favorite candy and holiday. Warning: this can be a big time waster because if you are like me, you’ll want to search different category combinations just for fun. For example, I searched Halloween + Almond Joy and found a recipe for Almond Joy cupcakes that looks out of this world. When I searched Thanksgiving + Heath Bar I found a Giant Toffee Gingerbread Cookie which I will be making. (Although I see no need to wait until Thanksgiving.)
I apologize for going on and on about chocolate. I swear, normally I’m not a huge dessert eater. But chocolate and fall seem to go together.
I blame Halloween. And lost football games which can sometimes lead to chocolate consolation.
Things Momma Says
I lost my appetite after I got hit in the head last year.
Momma has possibly shared this factoid already, but since October marks the one year anniversary of her accident (when she ended up with 9 stitches in her forehead), I suppose a repeat is justified.
Have a great week, Sunday Letter friends.
Grace Grits and Gardening
Farm. Food. Garden. Life.
Vel Roberts says
Always enjoy your Sunday Letters.
Talya Tate Boerner says
Thank you, ma’am!
Cathy Voight says
I loved everything in this post. The walnut story hits home, pun intended. My parents Fayetteville home had a huge walnut tree. Every other year the crop was huge and we dodged walnuts for weeks. They also kept us awake while they pummeled the roof! Happy October.
Talya Tate Boerner says
Thanks, Cathy! Happy October.
Can sympathize with you about a losing football team. My East Carolina University Pirates have been in a tailspin for several years now. So much more fun to win, but we’ve always been an underdog school in our state. After 40 years of being season ticket holders, my husband and I know there are a lot of valleys for the few peaks in our program. Still, we love our alma mater!
Talya Tate Boerner says
Yes, I agree! Win or lose, we love our schools!
Jenny Young says
I have a friend whose boys go around collecting black walnuts so they can turn them in for cash at the local feed store. Their mom will announce on FB that they’re looking for black walnuts. People are so happy to let them come pick them up…..they don’t get rich. She told me they cashed in 10 hours worth of walnut picking & got $50.
This is the time of year I cannot pass up the chocolate at aldi. I bought their Belgium chocolate filled pumpkins last week….oh my. I am eating one a day. Thankfully there are only 9 in the box.
Maybe I need to be hit in the head to lose my appetite? Stitches do not sound like any fun at all though.
Talya Tate Boerner says
That’s what I said too. I need to be hit in the head… (but not really). LOL.
Great Sunday letter! You might consider a pith helmet when walking near your walnut trees. Haha I We have hickory nut missiles. Ouch!! We have zero trick or treaters out here in the boondocks. I wish I was close enough to go watch your play! How exciting for you!
Talya Tate Boerner says
I think last night’s storm took care of the remaining walnuts! There will be lots to pick up this morning.
I finally caught up to your Sunday letter again! (I soooo hate it that I am soooo technically challenged!) Good take on the Razorbacks, and I love the reference to ‘Bama having to get their humility elsewhere!
I love living vicariously through you and your success! Good job! P.S. I know I overused exclamation points, but it’s the only way you can tell I am excited for you!
Dorothy Johnso says
I always root for the hogs and hate to see them suffer through a bad season. It’s painful to watch. On our trip back from the beach, there was still cotton in some of the MS fields, but most had picked and baled here in AR. I love those giant rolls. The angel in the overgrown field is a stark reminder of the unrelenting changes with the passage of time. I agree. We have it so easy in comparison to our ancestors who carved out the land. Also, I wish you had pecan trees instead of black walnuts. We had a big one in our yard that most years provided a nice crop. And I don’t think we should ever apologize for consuming chocolate. Our favorite is Dark Chocolate Dove–also known to benefit the heart. It’s good for us!
I am sad that I can’t come to see your debut as a playwright. But I am scheduled to help my sister-friend after some surgery. Otherwise, I’d make the trip. I know it will be fantastic!