Much as I dread the oncoming winter, that the month of November signifies, November has been a month of many transitions in my adult life. Many, though not all, of those have been good transitions. In 1977, I left the Amish for the first time on November 7. Then it was three years later, to the day, when I left the second time.

David and I went from being a family of two to a family of three on November 6, 1983. I will never forget the miracle of giving birth and the flood of motherly love that came with it. I will write a post on our son’s 27th. birthday that describes more about Paul’s life so far.

In 1999, after having our house in Shelburne, Vermont, on the market all summer, we sold it while having Paul’s sixteenth birthday party in which we had homemade pizzas and apple pie with a group of his high school friends. As a result of the sale of the house, we moved to Charlottesville, Virginia at the end of 1999.

Three years ago there was a major transition happening in my husband’s family. David’s father was dying of heart failure. It was difficult watching him going through bouts of not being able to breathe well and knowing there was nothing we could do to help him. He wanted to make it to his 84th. birthday on November 8th, which he did… then he lived another few weeks and died on Thanksgiving morning.

November can be such a dismal month. Right now I hear the drips outside my window, and it has been dripping like that since before I awoke this morning… so much for the saying, “Rain before seven, it’ll stop before eleven.” If Mem is right about winter setting in only after the creeks and rivers are full, then Mother Nature must be getting ready for winter before we’re ready… the house still needs a roof and siding before winter. 

So whenever November comes around, I wonder whether I’m in for a major change in my life. The one I hope for this November is being able to finish our house and batten down the hatches to be cozy this winter. One thing is for sure… we won’t feel the wind blowing across our shoulders in the living room. The old leaky windows have been replaced with new ones and great care has been taken to weatherize them well. I’m ready for a rest from the more-than-full summer and autumn we’ve had.

Monica the Mennobrarian has written a wonderful post about autumn, along with an insightful and poetic quote from “Anne of Green Gables.” 

What relationship do you have with November?
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4 thoughts on “November”

  1. Hi Saloma, we have finally had our “killing frost” so let Indian Summer arrive .. really! I’m ready! Any day, now! *sigh* (Maybe next week, they say…)

    All of November is a thankful month for me. Both of my parents died in October, 10 years apart. Their deaths were not unexpected and their release from worn out bodies must have been quite a relief for them. I sitll miss them, but they both loved autumn and their deaths and funerals were both on beautiful, crisp, clear days. Thanksgiving was my Dad’s favorite holiday and it has become one of mine, too. My mom loved to cook for my very appreciative dad, who spent 7 days a week cooking in our diner.

    I spend the month, finishing up the autumn chores of washing windows, curtains, blankets, etc. and plan all of my baking for the holidays.

    I wander through the section of a Christmas tree farm that we own and pick out my tree .. cutting it down on my mom’s birthday, December 12th. I choose a warmish day in November and decorate the outside with lights and things for Christmas (but don’t turn them on till Thanksgiving.)

    I love cooking Thanksgiving dinner and invite whomever can come. I tend to be a bit traditional and don’t like to try too many new recipes, relying on my family’s favorites: Turkey w/stuffing, mashed potatoes w/ gravy, creamed onions, broccoli, butternut squash, sourdough rolls, pickles, olives, pumpkin and apple pie for dessert with real whipped cream. Everything’s from scratch except the pickles and olives; and stuffing on occasion. I really like the taste of “Stove Top” and put it inside the bird. There are “new rules” about NOT actually stuffing it for fear of bacteria but I have to tell you, I’ve been doing it for 37 years and my mom many years before that and NO one has ever gotten sick from our dinners! My “foodie” son is always worried, but he eats it, anyway :-)

  2. November of 1998 we went to Ohio for Thanksgiving. Holmes County where I grew up. We stayed with my parents and my whole family was together for Thanksgiving. In the evening we took a very precious family picture. Ours plans were to get up Saturday morning and head back home to PA. God changed those plans suddenly when my mom, at age of 67, died of a heart attack in bed before any of us got up. Time has eased the pain, but I guess when November comes around, especially Thanksgiving, those are the memories that are with me. I do enjoy Thanksgiving though. And I also love fall. It’s my favorite season.

  3. Well, Saloma, the good news is that although siding on your house would be nice, you don’t actually *need* it. We’ve been living without it for 2 years! (We own the siding, but have not yet put it on.)It’s just horrible to look at. (Don’t tell David, though. Tell him that YOU definitely NEED siding!)

    In general, the fall season has always been a time of transition for me. A lot of that has to do with academic life, changing schools, and all of the things that go along with that such as making new friends and sometimes changing where I lived. But mostly, November is the month that makes me hold my breath in anticipation of making it through the winter before returning to the growing season, which seems more like “normal” life to me. The winter is my hibernation period.

  4. Peggy, thanks for sharing your post-autumn rituals… I also like to have people over at the holidays who may never again… a family once took me in for Thanksgiving and Christmas when I was young and away from home, and I will never forget that. This year we are having a teaching assistant from Germany come share Thanksgiving with us, and a different German teaching assistant for Christmas. I love it!

    Twila, thank you for sharing about the Thanksgiving you will never forget. November is bittersweet for me, too. I’m glad you still enjoy autumn.

    Monica, but we do *need* siding. We are a pilot project for this deep energy retrofit and we have to have the insulation covered before we get our rebate. (The rigid insulation is considered a fire hazard.) So, we’re good. The siding has to go up.

    I loved all your descriptions of how you get ready for winter. And going into hibernation is just about right.

    Thank you for your comments.

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