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Recalling the sights and smells of fall
Golden Rod
Above is a patch of goldenrod. - photo by Photo provided

The chill is in the air and the first frost is around the corner. It is time for a fire in the fireplace in the evenings. The air is crisp and cool against your face in the breeze.

The Effingham County Fair starts this week. It is not in the location of my childhood which was in Springfield on the Armory Grounds at the north end of Ash Street. Cotton candy, candied apples, hot dogs and whiffs of the animals from the barn area waft through the air in my memory.

Fresh pungent wood shavings or sawdust covered the ground in the barn. The view from the Ferris wheel was breathtaking.

The earthy smell of peanuts being dug and cotton being defoliated fill the country fields. Sweet potatoes freshly dug are placed in the sun to dry awhile before they are banked for the winter.

A walk down the lane shows plenty of goldenrod and a plant my family called “Youth and Old Age” shows its purple berries on the stems between the light green leaves.

Mama’s sasanquas (a type of early camellia) are blooming by the house in a bright fuchsia color.

This time of year in days gone by young people gathered for peanut boiling and taffy making. Cane syrup will soon be cooking in the big pots in the syrup sheds to supply the syrup to make that candy known as taffy. Syrup cooking is usually being demonstrated on site at the fair.

Leaves are changing color and falling to the ground. A walk down the lane finds hickory nuts on the ground and acorns dropping from the oak trees. Nearby pecan trees would be dropping their fruit, too, if it was a good year. Cakes and pies using nuts will be popular in the fall.

The garden has greens like collards, turnips and mustard growing and pumpkins and winter squash are ready to pick off the vines. Soon the houses will be fragrant with pies and bread from the pumpkins.

If you are taking a walk, watch out for the poisonous snakes moving now to hibernate. My memory is jogged by the sights and smells of fall that takes me back to my childhood. I am blessed that the landscape and plants I remember are all still all around me today as an adult.

This was written by Susan Exley of Historic Effingham Society. If you have photos, comments or information to share, contact her at 754-6681 or email her at: