As long and obvious as an Ohio winter

The substitute-a-harvest-party-for-halloween people are smart. Because sure as heck those saints aren't going to be traipsing around in 39-degree weather along with their shivering Cinderellas and Luke Skywalkers. Even the force and fairy dust combined are no match for the chocolate-freezing chill of northeast Ohio. (The only good side here being that the Snickers I'll be stealing from the kids' candy bags will already be the perfect freezer temp).

As we prepare to go trick-or-treating tonight with "the cousins", do you know what scares me the most? The battle I'm undoubtedly going to have with Cinderella about wearing her winter coat.

But it could be worse, I guess. We could have snow on the sidewalks like our old neighbors in Virginia and Maine. Or we could have rain, like we've had every bloody day this year when it isn't already snowing. Okay, I'm exaggerating ever so slightly. But really, if we're going to break weather records in Ohio, couldn't it be in the abundant sunshine category for once?

All complaining aside, the truth is I'm so very thankful. And not in the I'm-only-looking-at-the-bright-side-'cause-I'm-supposed-to way. Really, this morning, the gratitude comes easily. The list is as long and obvious as an Ohio winter.

For living close enough to my sister that we can get our families together for dinner and dress-up.

That the kids' fevers that came and went before the holiday.

For snickers bars and reeses cups and hot apple cider.

For the beauty of change, for seasons that sing four beats to a measure, giving us an unforgettable rhythm beneath the harmony of tradition and memory.

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