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Bed Races, Bonfires & Other Fall Traditions

Who loves the Fall? Crispness in the air. Leaves changing. Pumpkin-spice everything!

NFL Football. Crockpot meals...there’s just so much to enjoy this time of year! I wish the retail space would give Fall its due without trying to propel us toward Christmas. Christmas is great but Fall is filled with lesser holidays and traditions that are just in sweet in both creating and remembering.

Homecoming is one of these lesser holidays/traditions. Facebook feeds are brimming with Homecoming photos. Excited youth have swapped their casual wear for glittery dresses and suspenders. Back when I was attending Homecoming, the dances were date events. You eagerly anticipated whether the boy you had your eye on would get up the nerve to ask you to the dance. Then, if he did, you headed to the local floral shop to purchase a matching corsage and boutinere.

Today, Homecoming is more of a group event and flowers don't seem to play much of a role. A bunch of girls heading out together or a bunch of guys. All with the shared intent of meeting at the event and dancing the night away. We live close to a local area high school and we could hear the fireworks from the big game. Everything for Homecoming is dialed up a notch.

Do you remember attending Homecoming? Did you play football or participate in the marching band? Are you still so loyal to your alma mater that you trek back to attend even to this day? I saw a group picture of some college classmates who did just that recently. They were having a great time visiting. They looked significantly older than the college co-eds I remember but their smiles were wholly recognizable. The university we attended now has a winning football team but that wasn’t the case back in the day. As students, we attended the football games as strictly a social affair. The game was secondary. That seems to have switched with some serious fans attending most games. It’s amazing what a few winning seasons will do.

Our university had a Homecoming Pageant that I participated in during my senior year. Like most pageants, there was a talent portion, evening wear, and impromptu questions. Thankfully no swimsuit competition. That would have been a deal-breaker! Seventeen girls vied for the title of Homecoming Queen and I was lucky number 17. The night of the pageant was magical in my mind. Many friendly faces turned out in support. Except for burning my leg on one of the heaters backstage, it could not have been more fun. Much to my delight, I made it into the top four and was eventually crowned Homecoming Queen during halftime of the big game. It was an unexpected thrill - all of it. I even got a sparkly tiara. I’m not a girlie-girl but there was a special appeal to this glittering head topper. It’s packed away in a box somewhere but if I ever come across it, it’ll go straight to my head (literally!).

Homecoming was filled with special events and the year of my reign, I participated in them all. Perhaps the most thrilling were the bed races in downtown. Does anyone still do that? You would have a team of five and would race an old iron bed a certain distance, change into pajamas, and race back. It was sort of an accident waiting to happen and perhaps that added to the thrill. I hope our increasingly digital world hasn’t pushed out the simpler things like bed races, bonfires, and community parades. These events create lasting memories. Those memories get stirred up every Fall and boy are they sweet! Like pumpkin spice and cinnamon, they stand out and are meant to be savored.

What memories are triggered in you when Fall comes around? What are some of the sweetest?