Autumn Story

by EJ Sankey

The cool, crisp air gently whirled around her as she walked down the tree-lined county road to the market. The aroma of fresh-baked pies filled her senses. She could almost taste them. It reminded her of her childhood when her mother would bake. She held a list of ingredients in her hand.
She was so engrossed in her own thoughts she didn't realize where she was.

"Good morning, Genevieve. How are you this fine afternoon?"

She looked up and blinked her eyes.

"Good afternoon, Oscar. I am doing well. How are you?"

Oscar smiled. "It looked like you were deep in thought there. What were you thinking about?"

Genevieve smiled.

"Oh, that. I was planning on making my mother's homemade cranberry apple pie. This is my first time. I wanted to get it right on the nose, that's all."

"Ah, well, you have come to the right place. I just got fresh apples this morning and the cranberries are right here," he said, pointing them out.

She walked over to the apples, and took a moment to pick out the best looking ones.

As she did that, Oscar started putting produce away.

"How has it been since your mother passed on?"

Genevieve slowly put an apple in a basket that she picked up next to the register. She chose her words carefully.

"I miss her dearly. It just isn't the same without her."

Oscar put down the stuff he was stocking on the shelves.

"I know what you mean, when I lost my mother two years ago... I just never got over it."

The corners of her mouth turned down.

"Oh, I am so sorry to hear that."

She thought for a moment.

"You know, this is the first real cold day. I was planning a special meal for tonight.
Some homemade squash soup, a winter salad, a roast and freshly baked bread."
She held up her basket. "And a fresh-made pie for dessert. I would be delighted if you joined me for dinner."

Oscar's smiled returned.

"I would be honored to join you for dinner. Thank you for the lovely invitation."

She nodded her head and grinned.

"Then I shall see you at six tonight."

"I will be there with bells on."

Genevieve went home. It was a cozy little home—nice sized living room, a dining room, a kitchen and two bedrooms upstairs. She started decorating for the wonderful upcoming dinner.  She put some glass pumpkins and gourds on the coffee table. She strung up little lights across the fireplace. She lit some candles. The house was inviting.

She went into the kitchen and made the pie. It came out perfect. She put it on the windowsill to cool.
She took the roast and added just the right amount of spices to it. She put it aside to marinate.
She took the salad and put it in ice water to wash away any dirt it may have gathered when she picked it fresh from her garden.
She made the dough for the bread and put it in a bowl in the cool oven to let it rise. Then she proceeded to make the silky squash soup and put it in the fridge so the flavors could meld together.

She went out and gathered colorful leaves, acorns and fresh twigs to make as a nice centerpiece for the table.
She gathered some wood to make a lovely fire to sit by.
She made some homemade apple cider, and added a hint of brandy to spice things up.
She took out some autumn orange candles and put them on the table over the appropriately brown table cloth.
She put the centerpiece that she just made in the center of the table.

After it was all done, she stepped back and looked at her set-up. It made her smile.
The frost on the windows made her look outside. More leaves fell from the tress. It was getting colder.
She shivered a bit, but knew it was all going to be okay, once Oscar got there.
Later that night, everything was cooking, the smells of fall and food filled the house.
Everything was perfect.

It was the perfect autumn dinner for the perfect autumn guest.