President’s message: Nothing better than sights, smells, tastes and feel of autumn in the neighborhood

There is nothing I like better than autumn in Sacramento, except for maybe hyperbole. The crisp mornings finally give me reason to throw conservation to the wind and use hot water for the shower.

Cold showers to start a summer day are invigorating, and it takes moxie to have the first thing you do in the day be difficult. In autumn, I’ll move to toast or a bagel from Rice Chex or the occasional bowl of Cheerios — the toaster just heats up the kitchen too much when it’s already 75 degrees at 8 a.m.

I can’t wait to wear a fleece, and a long-sleeve T-shirt, and a sport coat and — most of all — the alpaca-lined duster my father gave me from when he used to live in New York. Oh! And the excellent felt-brim hat I got for my birthday a few years ago. Combined with the duster, I feel like I’m ready to skulk around dark alleys and solve crimes in my spare time. Sam Spade sure didn’t find the Maltese Falcon in shorts, T-shirt and sandals.

Let’s talk foliage. Golds, yellows, reds, oranges, umbers, ochres, all the rest of those colors and shades you only ever see in the crayon box and on the trees in October. A quick drive up to Amador County, and you get the trees and the harvested grapevines rioting together. Right about 6:30 p.m., the view to the southwest can be life-changing.

The whole family enjoys being able to roast stuffed peppers in the oven, or simmer pasta sauce on the stove without making dinner a sweaty affair. The frisson of a chill takes a little bit of the joy out of ice cream and popsicles, but it’s more than made up for by the greater enthusiasm for multiple batches of chocolate chip cookies (350 degrees for nine minutes).

We certainly can’t forget about the SCNA wine tasting and all its attendant glory. I’ve met so many people and heard so many stories and had so many laughs. Even if you don’t touch a drop of the beverages, the food and conversation will easily give you your money’s worth. And that’s before you even take into account the Gunther’s pumpkin bon bons.

Going for a run or a walk around the park sure is more fun without worrying about heat exhaustion. While it’s not quite time for gloves in the morning, a beanie is a nice change from one of my many ridiculous-looking visors.

Really, what’s not to love about fall?
Oh, right: The Claw.

Enjoy your time out and about, and make the most of it before the rain and cold of November!

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