Fall brings familiar sights and unwelcome smell

Autumn, the year's last, loveliest smile.

-- William Cullen Bryant

That first freeze always takes me by surprise.

Despite being aware that it is much colder than it was just last week, I don't want to acknowledge that summer has packed up and moved on.

I keep thinking it was just yesterday when we had all those days in the 100s. It can't possibly be cold yet.

But it is.

Like most of you, I review the signs that the season has changed.

The leaves turn. Your breath is visible when you walk out to get the morning paper. The birds are more frequent around the backyard feeder.

And the sure sign that cold weather is here for a while -- that smell you get the first time the furnace kicks on.

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MORE MAIL: Doris Jones, of Augusta, sent a nice letter talking about our town's old restaurants. She writes: "I remembered favorite restaurants from the '40s. One of these was the Chicken Stik. The owner, Lester Newsome Sr., was a city councilman who was generally there to greet his customers. He went with us as a witness to obtain our marriage license in 1945."

She said the Chicken Stik was beneath an insurance office at Eighth and Broad.

Doris also sent along another treat -- a nice copy of the Nov. 5, 1943, Richmond Academy football game program. Inside are lots of restaurant ads.

Thank you, Doris.

And thank you, Willis Irvin Sr. for sending the older postcard that shows Augusta's famous Haunted Pillar.

"Do you believe in a curse?" he writes.

(No, Mr. Irvin, I do not.)

Elsewhere, Doris and Marty Charnock send cards from the Billy Graham Library and from the Knot Garden at Fearrington Village in Pittsboro, N.C., which was "the perfect place to celebrate Marty's 80th birthday."

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FRIDAY'S QUIZ: Why is it that doctors call what they do "practice"?

- Why is lemon juice made with artificial flavor, and dishwashing liquid made with real lemons?

- Why is the man who invests all your money called a broker?

- Why is the time of day with the slowest traffic called rush hour?

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TODAY'S JOKE: Billy Cooper of North Augusta shares this observation.

You know, doctors can be so frustrating. You wait a month-and-a-half for an appointment, and he says, "I wish you had come to me sooner."

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