Pretend songwriters Edward Pola and George Wyle were talking about autumn instead of Christmas when they wrote “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” No, we’re not ready to go sledding or sing carols, but if there’s another season more impressive than autumn, take a moment please and tell me what it is.

The scenery is stunning and perfect for driving country roads and stopping at pumpkin patches. I love how in spring all the leaves are green but in autumn, the fall colors are absolutely breathtaking. The temperatures are cooler, great new television shows begin—it’s like hog heaven!

Speaking of fall shows, the new series set in Memphis, Bluff City Law’s star, Jimmy Smits, was on my 5:30 a.m. flight to Chicago last week and after I caught my breath and Roger spilled the beans about my secret crush, he graciously let us take as many pictures as we liked. (Ok, so it was really just me who wanted multiples in case I needed proof but that was an extra treat.)

Though I whined about picking cotton and pulling corn and all the back-breaking work that entails, I loved harvest time. My parents would probably be thrown in jail these days for child endangerment if they got caught letting me ride to the gin on top of the cotton. After the ginning was finished, we’d stop at the Clover Farm grocery store for animal crackers and/or an orange Push-up*  and so long as these treats awaited, I was inspired to do some serious picking!

Last week I noticed the fields were bursting with fluffy white cotton and the giant machines were patiently waiting for the remaining leaves to fall so they could pick the fields clean.  As a child, we’d rush home after school, change our clothes, and head to the fields to help finish the bale and finance our annual trek to the Mid-South Fair in Memphis.

The wonderful thing about picking cotton –- though I didn’t think there were any wonderful things back then—was when we’d find a watermelon that had been planted during chopping time. They’d barely be a few bites but they’d be so sweet that you forgot to complain about the stinging worms and cockleburs (I can’t explain what a cocklebur is but if you get caught by one, you know it!)

Autumn is pretty much perfect–it’s too early for Christmas dinner but not too early to plan it. It’s time to celebrate the end of mowing but not too early to put up pumpkin, corn stalk, and hay decorations. It’s too early to kill hogs but just right for digging sweet potatoes.

Autumn means beautiful days, cooler mornings and evenings, fall festivals, candy corn, harvesting—we have so much to be thankful for. As we’re enjoying all that the season brings, please let’s take a minute and pray for our farmers who have been devastated by floods, drought, falling grain prices, deep debt, tariffs, and political wrangling.

We should also pray for our world, national, and local leaders so they won’t be overcome by the trappings of power that distract and distort our efforts to love and care for each other. Finally, let’s help our neighbors, those near and far, and wherever we find them.

By the way: I found new friends and neighbors at the community event last weekend. One couple lived on my street and I giggled when we finally realized we were real next-door neighbors. We vowed to “see” each other and skip the drive-by waving.

*A Push-up is orange sherbet in a small brightly colored cylinder with a stick. Like it says, you push it up to the top to eat it.

Do not forget to share your favorite autumn pictures and memories with me at #drbondhopson on Twitter and Facebook.

Looking for inspiration, empowerment, uplift, straight talk, an encouraging word to brighten your day? You’ve arrived! Meet Dr. Cynthia Ann Bond Hopson, best-selling author, educator, inspirational speaker, sistergirl–she’s all that and more. All the way from Stanton, TN (you can’t get there from here) to 50 states, six continents and everything in between, she’s wise, witty and altogether wonderful. She enthusiastically invites you to slow down, sit a spell, and share a giggle or two.

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