Fall raced by in a blur, but I’ll remember the lessons

Fall raced by in a blur, but I’ll remember the lessons

Sometimes you look up at a calendar and are stunned to find out it is once again time to flip the page to the next month.

I know we had a fall; I remember moments where my wife and I commented about the beauty of the seasonal colors and the pleasant temperatures that allowed us to hold off flipping the switch on the furnace for as long as possible. Having kiddos that run cross country, where many courses involve wooded areas, allows the opportunity for spectators to gaze at nature’s splendor, and this year was the loveliest in recent memory.

A good chunk of those fall months, however, seem to have blended together, a blur not too dissimilar from those cross-country runners zipping by lined-up fans as they kick to the finish line. Before anyone knows it, the race is over, the leaves are gone, the frost arrives and you are sitting around a table eating some stuffing and cheesy potatoes, seeing who will be the first to fall asleep and start snoring on the couch, thus becoming the victim of a Thanksgiving family group chat photo.

As we approach the coming winter, I do know one thing I am assured of remembering when it comes to fall 2022: the lessons learned that helped define the season.

Lesson #1 (which is really a lesson for my children): Rooting for Cleveland sports teams is an exercise in futility.

One could argue the Guardians really had no business being in the divisional round of the playoffs, but like they often do, they made us believers, and Terry Francona’s boys of summer certainly did that this past October. Most sports writers referred to the ‘22 Guardians as “scrappy,” a nickname in baseball synonymous with playing the game the right way — at least when you do not have a player smashing a homerun every 12 at-bats. Their loss to the Yankees, while not nearly as heartbreaking as the 2016 World Series, was still a bitter pill to swallow.

It feels like “same ole, same ole” with Cleveland franchises, but for the next generation of fans, the lesson is this: “Wait till next year” is the real Cleveland sports mantra because it makes you a believer. And, yes, hating the New York Yankees is justifiable because a.) with their entitled beliefs and play, on the field and off, they epitomize everything that is wrong with professional sports, and b.) there is nothing hard about being a Yankees fan. I feel so badly for their fans who have had to sit through seven championship runs in my lifetime alone.

Lesson #2: The longing for nostalgia sometimes arrives right when you need it.

While not a perfect film, “A Christmas Story Christmas” got a lot more right than wrong, and for the viewers who experienced Christmases as children in the 1970s, that is a good thing.

The sequel to the beloved holiday film follows adult Ralphie and his family as they head home to Cleveland Street after the passing of the “Ole Man.” Now a father himself, Ralphie’s self-imposed deadline of becoming a successful writer is quickly coming to an end, and the hassle of dealing with his father’s death only adds to his stress, which includes being sure his own two children experience a Christmas just like he had as a kid.

But thankfully, “A Christmas Story Christmas” does not get bogged down with the memories of Ralphie’s youth from the original. The balance between the two films is a tricky one, and here, there are just enough hints to the original to make audiences reminisce, but the sequel really is Ralphie’s adult story. It is a Christmas story but through the lens of the pressures that come with adulthood. Some of those pressures can be comical (the snowball fight Ralphie has with his kids), some painful (being asked to write his father’s obituary) and the realization each child is owed their own memories of Christmas mornings.

Lesson #3: Sometimes, it is OK to listen to your iPhone.

This is a tough one for me because you will have a hard time convincing me cell phones and the technological “advancements”/applications that have developed along with them will not be connected to the fall of man, but maybe sometimes, their purpose is served.

My phone recently told me my “screen time was down 14% last week, for an average of one hour and 15 minutes a day.” I am told that is low, and if what my iPhone tells me is true, it is in part because of the challenge of work we all experience and the time commitments we battle, but also due to some personal/familial struggles that filtered into our lives this fall season.

An unexpected gallbladder surgery for one, followed by another who fell and broke his hip were just two of the many adventures we battled and will continue to do so this fall and winter.

All the while my iPhone is reminding me to connect with the meaningful. “Use me when necessary,” it seemed to be screaming. “Your screen time is down!” And while that is true, it is because of my phone I was able to read the caring words of support and kindness via text messages and emails from friends and family. More importantly, I was able to read them to my wife and father to remind us all of the loving circle of support and kindness in which we live — a circle that helps make all the chaos manageable.

And Lesson #4, which maybe is really more of a reminder, is with a fall season unlike anything I have recently experienced, the biggest guarantee is it is only a matter a time before the race begins again.