Pat Shingleton: "The Falling Leaves..."
At this time of the year and with our first blast of chilly weather I reminisce of days-gone-by. Similar to yards here in Baton Rouge, our Western Pennsylvania yard was always covered with leaves due to wind direction and maple trees in adjacent yards. The leaf raking routine was another chore during our younger years. Once raked, they were transported to the back of the property, separated into smaller piles and burnt. The E.P.A. was not-existent then and on Wiley Hill this process continues and the smell of burning leaves is a subtle reminder that Fall is ending and the winter winds are about to blow. Another use for the leaves was "leaf-piling-and jumping." A ten foot leaf pile provided a comfortable “mat” for jumping or diving into, but my brother Mike had another idea. Our sister, Maureen, was diagnosed with iron deficiency anemia and her symptom was an episode of fainting or “passing out” during physical activities. once the leaf pile was constructed, neighborhood kids such as “Pumpkin Head” Hulick, “Ears” Tilley, “Skunk” Tritt and “Dumps” Wiley, lined-up, paying Mike a quarter to witness this act. Mike would toss “Re-Re” into the pile where she immediately passed-out. Brought inside, my brothers Denis, Kevin and I would administer first aid.