Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Fall in Illinois

The month of October reminds me of Fall time in my hometown of Roodhouse in rural Illinois.  October means high school football, Halloween, and the harvest of wheat, soybeans, and corn.  Rural Illinois is not like the spreading metropolis of Chicago, but is rather a scarcely populated area of small towns, country homes, and a lot of farm land.  On Friday nights, people from these small towns congregate to their local high school's football field (American football) to watch two teams battle out a game of strength and skill with the pigskin (football) on the gridiron (football field).  As October nears its end, the temperature typically drops and evening football game-goers are usually seen wearing blue jeans and sweatshirts, and drinking hot chocolate under the gleaming field lights.

In rural Illinois during football games, one can smell the freshly cut corn fields, harvested by hard-working farmers only a day or so prior.  This corn will be sold to large markets and trucked directly from the field to barges along the Illinois River that will further take the grain to manufacturing plants to be made into human-consumable food (cereals, snacks, etc.) and into pet and other animal feed.  The smell of corn in the air is the smell of money to farmers.

October also means the approach of Halloween, celebrated on the 31st.  A family can expect to attend several wiener (hot dog) roasts and/or hay rides each year.  Wiener roasts are local or family gatherings, centered around a camp fire and food that is self-cooked over the open flames.  Hot dogs and smores - a melted snack of graham crackers, chocolate, and marshmallows - are classic wiener roast foods.  Typically, hay rides include people-filled wagons that are pulled by tractors.  In our family, the forest (called “the woods” in Illinois) are set up with ghosts, goblins, jokes, and even animals that are placed to lightly scare the hayride goers.  The term "hay ride" refers to the bales of material placed in the center of the wagons for people to sit on as the ride commences.  Although it is called a hay ride, people usually use straw (the long stem of wheat) instead of hay.  Hay is too expensive to use for pure fun for all ages.  October in rural Illinois is a wonderful experience.

No comments:

Post a Comment