Tackle Football and Falling Leaves
Young boys with torn sweatshirts and muddy Converse sneakers playing tackle football in long wide yards with high grass and falling leaves is a small town tradition. The fall smell of dry crunchy leaves heightens the senses and invigorates the energy of teenage boys. These were the happiest days of my youth. Our playing field of choice was perched atop Dake’s Hill, the highest point in Greenfield Center. The field was actually a section of the Dake family’s yard. One sideline was a row of vintage maple trees; tall, bark-thick, and unyielding. The opposing sideline was a hedge of wild thorn-heavy roses. One missed tackle and a trip to the depths of that hedge would inevitably result in a slow bloody extrication of a boy close to tears. One end-zone was a pair of century old maples, the other was a grey, four foot high wall of moss covered stones. Sundays were the day most chosen for our games. These afternoon fall rituals of touchdowns and bruised shins would last until tempers or hunger pains flared.