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Welcoming a new person to the world and celebrating life

Our family became a little bit bigger on Saturday with the arrival of Tessa Ann Compston.

The second daughter of my nephew, Jim Compston, and his wife, Jordan, Tessa arrived in the wee hours of Saturday morning. She weighed 8 pounds, 10 ounces, and she appears to be healthy and perfect in every way.

And, as expected, she has tons of the deep red hair that has become so characteristic of that branch of our clan.

Doctors had planned to deliver Tessa this coming Thursday, but she wasn’t waiting around to adhere to their schedule. Unfortunately for me, that meant that I wasn’t able to be at the hospital for her arrival as I had intended.

The new mommy and daddy were pretty much on their own for this delivery, since my brother, Larry, had the job of picking up big sister Zadie from day care and bringing her to his house to spend the night. But it appears that Jim and Jordan did a great job preparing for this new addition to their family even though we couldn’t be there to support them.

Now, a new adventure begins for them and for all of us. I am very excited for Zadie to get to know her little sister and to teach her all sorts of important things, such as how to dress like a princess or how to get exactly what she wants from their daddy or grandpa.

Welcome to the world, Tessa Ann! I already love you even though we haven’t officially met yet.

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Something else arrived this past week – autumn weather.

I do appreciate the bright, crisp mornings that come with the change of season, but I could do without feeling chilly all day long. There is more to the transition than temperature, however.

On my way to work a couple of days last week, I began to notice that not everything on the surrounding hillsides was still green. Although the overall impression of trees covered with green leaves is still there, occasional patches of yellow and orange are beginning to dot the countryside.

One evening in particular, I believe it was Wednesday, it seemed that fall blew into Belmont. Driving up Market Street, I noticed piles of dry leaves swirling in the wind. Then, as I climbed out of my car, I noticed a chill in the air that hadn’t been there when I climbed into it at the office to head home. The wind was whipping across the field below our place, making the fur on our adopted cat, Mr. White, bend in the breeze.

Mr. White was even more vocal than usual as he escorted me from the driveway to the front door that evening. I believe he was expressing his displeasure at feeling so cool. A bowl full of Iams seemed to sooth him, though, and soon he was off exploring the surrounding area again, patrolling for rodents and making sure no other cats invaded his territory.

Personally, I’m not big on pumpkin-flavored things, so the taste trends that so many are embracing this fall mean little to me. I have dabbled in a couple of new recipes this week, though, baking up some bubbly, hot casseroles that my husband, Mike, and I enjoyed immensely.

As the cool temperatures take hold in earnest, I imagine we will be mixing up some pots of soups and chili to help warm us up inside and out. I do enjoy a good beef and vegetable soup, and there are plenty of other non-pumpkin meals that I look forward to each fall.

Our garden, which I neglected compared to previous years, is not producing much at this point, but it did yield a bumper crop of various types of peppers. Mike used those along with some homegrown tomatoes and onions to create about a dozen jars of salsa last week. He made sure some of it was mild, just for me. That is the only batch we have sampled so far, but I suspect one of his spicier varieties will help warm us up during snack time one evening soon.

SO what do you love about autumn? There’s nothing we can do to stop it’s arrival and the march toward winter, so we might as well choose our favorite things about both seasons and make the most of them.

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There’s one more fall tradition I’d like to remind everyone about. The Belmont County Rubberneck Tour is slated from noon to 6 p.m. Oct. 13, and I encourage everyone to take part.

The self-guided driving tour provides an annual look at portions of the county, highlighting various attractions you may not have known were here. This year’s your is focused on the Flushing area, and it is being dedicated to the memory of John Mattox, founder and curator of the Underground Railroad Museum there and an all-around great man. My friend John died in July, and it only seems fitting that he is being honored in this way.

Stops on the tour this year include: The Underground Railroad Museum, Zion Christian Retreat, the Stratton flour mill, Stratton House Inn, Flushing Firehouse, the downtown Flushing business district, Flushing United Methodist Church, Flushing Alliance Church and Sunni Rae’s store. There will also be activities at Schuler Park. A celebration of John’s life is planned afterward, at Zion.

I intend to be there, and I hope you will be, too.

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