The beginning of fall


By Kyle Leahy Walsh

What are some of the first things I think of when I think of Fall? Well, leaves changing to glorious bursts of oranges, reds and golden colors and apple picking! I’m from New York! My state is called the “Big Apple” for a good reason! Unfortunately, apples don’t really grow well in Florida because it doesn’t stay cold enough long enough! Fall also makes me think of family. It’s a great time for road trips to go pumpkin picking, finding your way through corn mazes, enjoying hay rides and surviving haunted houses.

Holidays also make me think of family and there are some great holidays during the Fall. The way I see it is you’re never too old for a little mischief and merriment. Who doesn’t love Halloween? You get to dress up, act silly, party with your family and friends and best of all are the treats. Although the name Halloween (Oct. 31st) comes from “All Hallows Evening” (Nov. 1st – All Saints Day), many people may not know that Halloween originated from an ancient Celtic holiday called “Samhain” (Sow-en). Samhain was a celebration of the end of the harvest, the changing of the seasons and the Celtic New Year. The Celts believed that the spirits who had died during the year were freed to travel among the living on that night which may explain why the holiday is associated with witches, goblins and ghosts.

Veteran’s Day is a holiday set aside to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good. It came about from the observation of Armistice Day. Although the treaties that officially ended World War I didn’t happen until several months later, the Armistice agreement that stopped the actual fighting went into effect at the 11th hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918 and that is why Veterans Day is celebrated each year on Nov. 11th. My grandfather, John Leahy emigrated from Ireland and served as a sergeant with the US Army in Korea. In 2001, after 25 years of working, he got the Posthumous Citizenship Act signed into law by President Bush (http://www.illyria.com/irishkor.html#jleahy).

Thanksgiving is all about enjoying football, turkey and all the trimmings, but it’s also about taking the time to be thankful for what you have and for taking the time to help those in need. If you are lucky enough to have money to be able to donate some funds, there are many worthwhile organizations in our area that helps people every day of the year. You don’t have to have money to be helpful. You can also be helpful by volunteering your time and energy. There are many organizations such as shelters, soup kitchens and food pantries that can really use help anytime of the year but the need is especially high during the holidays.

 

Web sites:

http://www.hauntworld.com/florida_haunted_houses
This website will help you find all types of haunted attractions, Halloween haunted houses, hayrides, corn mazes, haunted prisons, hotels, mansions to any and all types of horror attractions as well as haunted hayrides, year around haunts, to even zombie paintball hayrides in Florida.

http://www.feedingnefl.org/
Feeding Northeast Florida’s mission is to banish hunger from all 17 counties in Northeast Florida.  Our goal is to rescue all the food that would otherwise be destroyed and get it to the tables of the families in our community who need it – Fast, Fresh and Free.

http://www.sulzbachercenter.org/about-us/overview
Sulzbacher Center is Northeast Florida’s largest provider of comprehensive full range of services for the homeless men, women and children 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

http://www.crmjax.org/
City Rescue Mission, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) corporation that provides food, clothing, shelter, emergency services and residential recovery programs to homeless men, women, and women with children.