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They say the most wonderful time of year is the Christmas season.  Sorry, Andy Williams, I have to disagree. Autumn is where it is at. Or as we so affectionately call it here in the South — fall.
So, here are a few things I love about the fall season, in no particular order:
Leaves. Lots of them. There is something oddly accomplishing about hearing those colored leaves crunching under your feet. See also: “jumping in leaves”. I am not too old for that yet, am I? Fall proudly exclaims no, and to jump right in. Try it sometime. Fall won’t judge you.
You can make meals in a crockpot five nights a week during the fall season and no one says a word, except to ask for seconds. See ya later, chicken salad. Chilis, soups, and cheese dips all top the fall menu.
Three words: Pumpkin Spice Latte.  Change that to Raspberry Mocha during the Valentine’s Day holiday. So what if I have coffee taste preferences based on the four seasons? It keeps me on my toes.
Hayrides. Hayrides on a flat bed or hayrides in a pickup truck. Haystacks in people’s front yards,  and rolling around in the hay. Just take a Claritin beforehand and call me in the morning.
Daylight saving time ends. So, we “fall back” an hour. I am not sure exactly how this works, the whole gaining an hour/losing an hour phenomenon, but I think it might have something to do with time travel. At any rate, it gets darker earlier, which means the kids go to bed slightly earlier, which means I can chill out on the couch with my husband, eating no-bake cookies and looking hot in my sweat-pants at 7:45pm. Bring on the darkness.
Pumpkins. You can paint them, carve them, eat them. They are everywhere. But, take my advice.  If you love someone, you have to set them free.  I let a few rot in my home a few fall seasons ago. That story did not end well.
Bonfires. You can breathe in the cool fall air, scorch a mechanically separated pig product or a mouth watering s’more, and chat about life.  Some people even stay overnight in these contraptions called tents. Fall bonfires offer a unique opportunity to be both cold and hot simultaneously, which is a shivering and sweat-filled experience like none other.
Scenery. Break out the camera, folks, and take a Sunday drive. People travel from all over the world to see our little neck of the woods and the incredible fall colors. Just remember: if a deer prances out in front of your vehicle, there will more than likely be another follow suit. Stay put. Trust me on this.
You can say “ya’ll” even more than normal and it is totally acceptable and even encouraged. Happy fall, ya’ll!!
The air is cooler, the scented candles fill the air, the sweaters are in abundance, and the boots make me taller than my husband.
Welcome, fall.
You have finally arrived.

Christie Elkins is a Campbell County native whose columns appear weekly on the lifestyles page of the LaFollette Press. She’s a mother of three and a full-time blogger at www.mywalkwitheden.com.