“The air tastes like fall today.”
(He said it like someone who knew what he was talking about. Like someone who had captured all that is fall…the crispness of an autumn wind, colorful leaves curled and crunching under a pair of sneakers, the chill of football field bleachers beneath jean-clad legs, the soft creak of freshly picked apples squeezing together in the box as the picker leans over to empty her bag, the excitement of children choosing the perfect pumpkin, the taste of chocolate pulled from a Halloween treat bucket and peeled from a wrapper embossed with smiling bats, and the thrill of riding on the fender of a tractor while Dad picks a field of corn, brown and yielding sturdy dimpled yellow ears…ground it all into a seasoning and bottled it up. Put it in all the local grocery stores – took it to farmer’s markets. He would stand behind the table, smiling at the passersby.
“Say, have you ever tasted fall? Buy this seasoning, sprinkle it in your food, and you can taste it every day!”
And they did taste it. They tasted it sprinkled on their Sunday dinners and almost felt the cool breeze of early October as they sat in the sweltering heat of late July. They tasted it mixed in with their early morning oatmeal in the cold bare grip of February, and remembered the beauty of the leaves before they fell off the trees. They tasted it, and they loved it. He sold it by the hundreds, by the thousands, then closed up shop. It was time to retire. So he took his secret recipe and tucked it away into a corner of his attic – only to be pulled out for family holidays and gatherings of special friends.
Yes, he knew what he was talking about. So he said it again.)
“The air tastes like fall today!” He smiled and swept the sky with his hands. “Yep, it tastes like fall. And, man, is it good.”