Fall bonfire shares blessings to all

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As September bows out to October, we enjoy the subtle reminder that season’s change is coming once again. We enjoy warm days and crisp nights and try to accomplish all the things on the list before the next season comes along.

As I walked the farm one day last week, picking up hundreds of sticks of all sizes brought down by the remnants of Hurricane Ike, the idea occurred to me that this would be a wonderful reason to have a bonfire.

We don’t really need a reason; this farm lends itself incredibly well to outdoor fun and get-togethers. We have lots of places for people to park and plenty of room to explore and enjoy the great outdoors.

We set a date and hoped the weather would cooperate. My sister’s family dairy farm was on the drive-it-yourself tour but she assured me it would still work for them to get away for an evening of fun. My nephew brought straw bales to set around the bonfire, and another nephew brought his corn hole boards, so we were all set for an evening of enjoyment.

Party time

After spending the day cooking up a storm, I couldn’t wait. When it comes to hosting a good time, I am kind of like a little kid. I don’t mind admitting that I can hardly wait for the clock to strike the party hour.

When my niece and her hubby arrived with their two boys and their two nieces, all under 8, the fun began. I heard 5-year-old Brayden say to his cousin, “You are really gonna have fun at THIS house!” and it made me feel like a million bucks.

The evening could not have been more perfect for a bonfire. The air stirred out of the north, bringing enough of a chill to invite us to get a little closer to the fire. The kids enjoyed roasting their own hot dogs over the sizzling flames, with lots of adult supervision to keep everyone safe.

Later, as the flames settled down to a perfect bed of glowing embers, it was time to get out the chocolate bars, graham crackers and marshmallows. The little ones were quite willing to do the ‘cooking’ for all of the kids-at-heart gathered around the bonfire.

Sweatshirts and blankets were brought out as the evening wore on. The little ones gathered around me to help decide which little sweater to put on my tiny Yorkie who was shivering from the chill. “Oh my gosh, this is SO fun!” exclaimed my great-niece who had never heard of such a thing as clothes for dogs.

True blessings

Standing back from the crowd after running in the house for more marshmallows, the sound of laughter and happy shouts of glee over some great story or another wafted through the night air. I looked at the group of loved ones gathered here and felt like the luckiest woman on the planet.

The new bride, recently welcomed in to the family, rocked her sleeping newborn niece, wrapped in a pink baby blanket, surrounded by people who could not love her more. With each new addition to a loving family, the joy grows and the heart leaps with the realization of true blessings realized.

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Judith Sutherland, born and raised on an Ohio family dairy farm, now lives on a 70-acre farm not far from the area where her father’s family settled in the 1850s. Appreciating the tranquility of rural life, Sutherland enjoys sharing a view of her world through writing. Other interests include teaching, reading, training dogs and raising puppies. She and her husband have two children, a son and a daughter, in college.

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