Fall Means Family Fun, Festivals and Football
It is also a time to remember those who will never enjoy the good times.
Fall arrives this week and very soon Fenton, along with the entire state, will become a riot of color as the cooler weather arrives, turning the leaves to beautiful hues of gold, orange and red.
When my youngest son was 4 years old, we were driving through Fenton in the car and he asked, “Mom, why does God make all the leaves bootiful and then blow ‘em all away?”
September has always been my favorite month of the year. Although I do love spring and the summer months, by the time September arrives, I’m ready for a break in the heat and humidity, and look forward to everything the month has to offer, beginning with the nice long Labor Day weekend, followed by the start of school.
I don’t know about you, but I love seeing the kids out and about again, all excited about starting a new grade and seeing their friends again. And there is something contenting about seeing the yellow school buses on the road again.
It was great the other day when three neighborhood children knocked on my door. I asked them in and waited for Sarah, the older of the three, to state their business. At the time, I was thinking about how much money was in my wallet because I was sure she was going to sell me something for Girl Scouts or a school fundraiser.
I was wrong!
She said, “We’re here for our Tootsie Rolls.” I said, “Huh?” She said they ran into my husband up the street and he told them they should stop by our house for a special treat. Then it dawned on me, I had about 50 Tootsie Roll pops in a basket in the dining room. After selecting a fistful of suckers each, they left, but not before Sarah whispered to me, “You have a nice house, I’ll come by to visit you sometimes if that’s OK.”
Fall offers us a chance to spend more time with our families, too, as we enjoy the many festivals and fun activities at places like local apple orchards, where mom, dad and the kids have a great time enjoying cider and donuts while taking wagon rides through fields to pick their own apples.
One of my favorite fall activities is high school football. Although my kids have graduated, I still plan on catching a few Fenton High School home games. It’s great to sit in the bleachers and watch not only the game, but the teenagers having fun with their friends off the field.
My youngest played football briefly during his junior year at Fenton. It truly made my heart swell to watch him run out into the field wearing his black and orange football uniform. An injury during practice that resulted in 14 stitches pretty much ended that season. He was a good sport though and attended every game to help out on the sidelines. No, he wasn’t a star quarterback by any stretch of the imagination, but I was a very proud mom nonetheless.
While I’ve just described the kinds of activities many parents enjoy with their children, it would be wrong not to remember the children who are not and have not been as fortunate. Children like Dominick Calhoun, the 4-year-old local boy, who lost his life more than a year ago at the hands of the adults he should have been able to trust the most.
I think about little Dominick today because those adults are now working their way through the criminal justice system – the mother, Corrine Baker, having already pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and child abuse for not protecting her child from her abuser – and the mother’s boyfriend, Brandon Hayes, who is about to go on trial for first-degree murder.
It makes me sad to think that Dominick is never going to enjoy fun days - hopping in the car with a loving family for a trip to the kiddie rides and too many hotdogs at the Applefest, or a wagon ride at a local apple orchard, where might have picked some apples and a pumpkin or two.
He will never the know the excitement of going to school and making friends, or in later years driving his own car for the first time, having a girlfriend, playing high school football and moving on with life in general.
Last week, the entire 100-person jury pool was dismissed. It is feared that Hayes will not get a fair trial because of all the publicity surrounding the Dominick Calhoun case. His defense attorney is attempting to have the trial moved to another county, where an unbiased jury might be selected.
Too bad little Dominick, who was allegedly tortured and beaten, couldn’t get a fair trial, or be moved to another county where he might have lived a long life with a loving family.