Something Plaid This Way Comes

It is Fall around here. We know that because there is a sudden infusion of red amongst all the local leafy greens. Also, the mountain-scarlet has started to fade, and instead of being a boiling 104 degrees outside the temperature has plummeted to a balmy 89. Nearly three-quarter sleeve level!

In addition, we know it is Fall because my freezer is still full of last year's raspberries that I've spent twelve months planning on turning into ruby-clear freezer jam–because I am the kind of mom that wants her kids to grow up and say I'm that kind of mom–but haven't found the time yet. And now it's next year and I feel the jam-bug again so I have to decide between using the old, sort of pre-plastic-surgeried Joan Rivers-looking berries (which would probably taste fine but would have a Brooklyn accent. "Oh! Oh! My Dahhhling! Don't spread me on that! What am I, a schmear?) and chucking them into the compost heap in favor of brand new robust Justin Bieber-looking berries. I AM a Belieber after all. Especially where my raspberries are concerned.

Eh. I'll go with Joan. Justin's got plenty of time to ripen. (Don't ask why I'm comparing my jam-fruit to questionably youthful celebrities. I'm sure it has nothing to do with me writing this in the middle of the night.)

But the biggest reason I know it's Fall? I'm starting to pine for plaid. I can't help it. There's something about Fall that makes me feel my Stuart blood and want to go all Scottish on myself. (Yes. I totally name-dropped there. Did you hear it? "Stuart." As in "Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots." Yeah. We're totally related. We can't really figure out how, but it's all true. It may be through a Livery Boy or Scullery Maid, But I have some Scottish, I tell you! I am quite sure I am the heir to the throne of Scotland and everything plaid. Now to depose the Queen…)

That might be the silliest "But I digress . . ." in history. 

I really have no explanation for why I pine for plaid—as well as brilliantly colored leaves, and the canning of fruit, and the wearing of boots, and the nibbling of apples. It must all come down to an association of great memories with these things. Fallen leaves remind me of endless childhoods spent crunching through them, building leaf piles and forts to destroy, and running around in sweaters and ruddy cheeks. Ripened summer fruits take me back to something similar.

And plaid? I had a Black Watch neck scarf as a kid, that I dug out every year until I couldn't find it any more. I don't even know where I got it. But come Fall I'd drape it over one shoulder, trap it at my waist with a belt, and top it off with a little owl-pin I had bought at an end-of-summer yard sale. It was my nod to Fall and all the approaching autumnal holidays. And I got the idea from watching old movies set in English boarding schools or grand old Estates, where everyone seemed to wear plaid, stomp through leaves, and speak with mahvelous accents, saying things like "Jolly good!" and "By Jove!"

Oddly, all of that became my strongest seasonal association–triggered by plaid–and I love it to this day.

So, bless my Stuart blood and the BBC, I'm off to find a bit of tartan to wear. Hopefully the temperatures will drop just enough to ruddy-up the cheeks and put a perfect crisp on the apples. If not, we'll just pull out a movie.

What's your favorite Fall memory-blast?

About Janiel 433 Articles
I have managed to keep the same husband for nearly three decades, and the same four children for almost that long - although one or two of them say it has been much longer. I have been writing since I learned to hold a pencil, and trying to make people laugh even longer. I hope to do some good in the world before I go the way of it. And if not, I'd better at least get to visit Ireland.


  1. I loooove plaid! All of them. I love the way fall smells and sounds. Love it! Plus, the leaves match the orange center line on the roads, so everything’s all color-co-ordinated for a week and that just soothes my OCD heart.

  2. I was actually thinking about this yesterday, that fall makes me feel all tweed-y and plaid-y. Makes me nostalgic for the preppy period I went through many (many) years ago. Never mind that I spend most of my time at home in a t-shirt and sweats, I still kind of long for little tailored wool blazers.

    • Isn’t it amazing how our senses can trigger memories? I love little tailored wool blazers too! And corduroy. And plaid. And tweed. Wonder why we do? Maybe they feel stable and solid and warm. And that’s something this world needs.

      • I always think about new warm clothes in the fall because of the ritual of buying new school clothes, or at least a new coat (I went to Catholic school, so we didn’t get a lot of new school clothes except for a new uniform and that doesn’t count–blech! I hope the kids now have nicer uniforms, not the nasty polyester ones we had.)

        • One of my kids wears uniforms to school. They’re nice little polo shirts and docker-type pants or little plaid jumpers. Not narsty polyester.

          I’ve always loved school clothes shopping with my kids. Nice little ritual. 🙂

  3. I totally hear ya on pine for plaid. I didn’t know you are related to Mary Stuart, very cool heritage. I’m related to drunks and people that plotted against King Henry 🙂 Your heritage is much cooler.

    • Haaaahahahaha! That is hi.larious. 🙂 My relationship to Mary Queen of Scots is quite questionable. We have Stuart blood. My fam likes to stretch that to her. I do know that I am related to Jesse James and a bunch of other curmudgeons. So, you’re not alone, Miss Drunken Ancestor.

      (Ooh! That should be a Karate move: “Drunken Ancestor.” All you have to do is fall down. I could totally do that.)

  4. I was told once that we were related to the Stuarts, which was very exciting, because I had just read a historical novel about Bonnie Prince Charlie. When I actually checked however, we are not related to the Stuarts, but the Stewarts! They lived in the Highlands, not shaving (men nor women), living in caves when everyone else lived in houses, and probably eating raw meat. But look how far we have come! I shave at least once a week and only my mom likes raw meat.
    Plaid is close to my heart too. For years, I have wanted Black Watch Plaid added to the color wheel. I could wear it all the time. If I could find women’s clothes made in Black Watch plaid. They always make the men’s shirts in Black Watch and Stewart plaid, and the women get some pale pewling pinky-beige plaid. Equality in Plaid! You may take my life, but you’ll never take my Black Watch Plaid!

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