“Fall Is”: A Poem by Rachel Marsh

Fall Is…

Fall is natural beautyFall

Fall is red trees.

Fall is bon fires.

Fall is s’mores.

Fall is roasted marshmallows.

Fall is mountains.

Fall is Sunday afternoon football with friends!

Fall is acorns.

Fall is pumpkin patches.

Fall is corn mazes.

Fall is cozy evenings at home.

Fall is trendy boots and flannel.

Fall is chili.

Fall is going to Starbucks with a good book.

Fall is pumpkin lattes.

Fall is sleeping with the windows open.

Fall is camping.

Fall is hiking.

Fall is chattering teeth.

Fall is warm hot chocolate.

Fall is hoodies.

Fall is toasty sweaters!

Fall is romantic chilly walks.

Fall is hot cinnamon apple cider.

Fall is warm socks.

Fall is snuggling.

Fall is crunchy leaves.

Fall is pink cheeks.

Fall is holiday anticipation.

Fall is fireplaces.

Fall is red wine.

Fall is a second glass of red wine.

Fall is screw it, the whole bottle of red wine.

Fall is accidentally passing out on the couch.

Fall is miserable hangovers from all that damn red wine.

Fall is all of the flowers dying.

Fall is mice coming into your house.

Fall is not liking camping, actually.

Fall is so many frickin’ leaves to rake.

Fall is being too old to jump in the pile of leaves.

Fall is burning the crap out of your tongue on hot chocolate.

Fall is not giving a shit about football.

Fall is your coworkers not being able to discuss anything except football.

Fall is one step before winter.

Fall is a great reminder that you’re still single.

Fall is the onset of Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Fall is wondering why all of the malls have started decorating for Christmas already.

Fall is trying to get that musty storage smell out of your winter clothes.

Fall is remembering how annoying scarves are around your neck.

Fall is fake holidays that we celebrate anyway, like “Black Friday,” or “Columbus Day.”

Fall is pumpkin spice-sponsored cavities.

Fall is what the hell am I going to be for Halloween this year?

Fall is stupid kids ruining your evening with their trick-or-treating.

Fall is the looming family-infiltrated holidays ahead.

Fall is getting fat from the holiday carbs.

Fall is remembering how much you hate pumpkin beer.

fall-leaves-pumpkins-1

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R.I.P. Toys-R-Us

You may have heard the news. No, they’re not going out of business yet. But if you’ve heard the updates on the news, you know the end of Toys-R-Us will soon be upon us.

Because let’s be honest, if a kids aren’t getting their toys off of Amazon these days, they’re at the most going to go to Walmart or Target. They wouldn’t even recognize Geoffrey (geoffrey-the-giraffe-toysrus-5.42) if he had an armload of iPads shaped like fidget spinners.

But back in my day, Amazon was a river I misspelled on my geography tests and the idea of getting a toy from Walmart was beneath me. Toys-R-Us was a dream destination, and to say that I have extremely fond memories of it is a drastic understatement.

For example, I absolutely must start with the tale of the amazing

Child-Sized Battery-Powered Cars

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you’re either in your late 40’s, or you were one of those kids that watched PBS for fun. Toys-R-Us had a display of these cars that were…well, child-sized and battery-powered. They would go as fast as – what I thought at the time was at least the equivalent of a suburban speed limit – but what really was around 2.5 mph.

We never got one, no matter HOW many times we asked. But the second we walked into the store, my brothers and I would trample kids over and shove aside shopping carts just to get to the car section. Then when we had to leave, we would beg and plead and try to extend our time for as long as possible.

And as we were getting dragged out by our feet, we told our parents how lucky they were that they got their own car to drive whenever they wanted.

My second story is going to be an obvious one, because what “childhood memory of Toys-R-Us” blog post would be complete without a narrative about

Christmas Shopping

Certainly not this one.

Every year, a few weeks following up to Christmas, my dad would load me and my brothers up in the car for our sibling Christmas shopping trip. The sibling Christmas shopping trip would go like this:

  • We’d each go to our respective sections (me: the girl section for anything Polly Pocket or Beanie Baby, them: the boy section for dumb boy stuff).
  • We would then decide on a variety of toys suitable to open on the big day.
  • Our dad would come to our section, take notes on our selection, and find the other siblings to let them know.
  • The other siblings would then pick out what toy they wanted to give as a gift.
  • Then we’d all go do what we had wanted to since we arrived (the car section), and drive around until it was time to leave.

My dad, of course, paid for all of the gifts we gave to each other. Which is perhaps what I miss most about this scenario.

The next story is one of hope and inspiration. It’s a story about

The Time My Dad Almost Got a Job at Toys-R-Us

One evening, when I was in third grade, my dad came home after work and told us that his company had gotten bought out. That meant that everyone there was going to lose their job, including him. Not realizing the implications of a job loss (poverty, homelessness, us having to use our own allowance to buy Christmas presents), I deemed the announcement as fantastic news.

Now he could finally be an employee at Toys-R-Us like I had always dreamed.

I told him the good news, eager for this whole “job loss” to be behind us and the free toys to start flowing.

He appreciated my advice, but unfortunately never got around to picking up an application. Shortly after the company buy-out, he found another job at a nearby insurance company.

But instead of unlimited toys, he does my taxes, which I suppose worked out in the end.

So, in unrelated news, I don’t know how to do sidebars on this blog. But if I did, this story (well, less of a story and more of a “thank you, Toys-R-Us”) would be a

Sidebar

When I was an au pair in Australia, I had to find ways every day to entertain a three-year-old. When I ran out of ideas, or grew sick of feeding those scary ass ducks, we would go to Toys-R-Us. I could sit on my phone and text all of my cool Australian friends, while she would look at and touch all of the dolls and stuffed animals (that she didn’t know that were supposed to come out of the box). Thank you, Toys-R-Us. So

In Conclusion

Toys-R-Us, this one goes out to you. I’m eternally disappointed that one day soon (just being realistic here) you’ll be shutting your doors forever. I know I don’t frequent your establishment very often (well, since 1998), but it’s a shame all of my children that I don’t want to have will only see toy shopping through the screen of a computer and never know the joy of a Toys-R-Us trip.

Thank you for all of the memories.

And more importantly, the stuff.

toys-r-us-store

There’s Just No Funn After the Summer Ends

Well, friends, summertime is winding down. Which is sad for a lot of reasons. For example, it’s going to start getting cold. The days will be getting shorter. I can’t call out of work to go to the pool.

But it’s really sad because the end of summer means that baseball season in Richmond is over.¹

I attended the last Flying Squirrels game of the year on Labor Day as a way to say goodbye, I’ll miss you, and thanks for the memories. Also because I had nowhere else to be. And the Big Gulp sized beers.

I’ve been frequenting the Squirrels games more and more each summer, and these events have slowly started to become one of my favorite summertime activities.

And if they’re not yours, well…let me try to convince you otherwise.

This is the closest thing to a sports team Richmond has

We don’t have a national football team². No major league baseball to watch. No NBA all-stars. Go to any sports bar and everyone is cheering for a different team. Guys, the Flying Squirrels is all we have. Well, I guess we have college sports (RIP Shaka) and the Richmond Rough Riders (I know, I had to Google it too).

They’ve given us something to debate over

Do you ever feel like Richmond is a little too cordial? That everyone gets along a little too well? Thankfully a few years ago, the debate over whether to move the stadium to Shockoe Bottom or just keep it where it is caused a whole stir among the city. It created a division among friends, neighbors, and immediate family members. A lot of relationships were ruined, because why would you associate with someone who disagrees with your viewpoint to move the stadium downtown?³

They’ve given us something else to debate over that I just thought of

Does anyone really know why the word “fun” in their slogan, “Have Funn, Go Nuts” is spelled wrong? Is it a typo? Is that the Olde English way of spelling it? Is it because of their phone number in letter form spells “funn”? No one knows! Let the argumennts continnue!

The games are really funn

Ha! Just a little humor I thought I’d throw in. But really, the games are a good time. Plus…

Those wacky mid-inning games keep you on the edge of your seat!

The Nut Race: will it be John Walnut, Eric Cashew, or Tom Almond4!? The t-shirt toss: what rolled up shirt am I not going to win this time!?5 Molly Maids plus ‘Nsync?! Never thought I’d see the day.6

You never have to worry about the game going into overtime

Unless the other team doesn’t score a run either.

Those exclusive fireworks

I mean, where else in Richmond can you watch 10 minutes of loud but colorful fireworks?7

The possibility of a foul ball coming your way is exhilarating

The sound of people screaming “heads up!” after a hit immediately opens the door of possibility. You might grave the ball with your fingertips and have a good story. You might even catch it, for a priceless souvenir. Or you might get hit in the head with a baseball going 90 mph, for the opportunity to sue the Richmond Flying Squirrels for, holy crap, a lot of money.

I get free tickets through work

This is unrelated, but I just like to tell people about this.


Anyway, that’s about all the reasons I like going to the Squirrels games.

No, just kidding, I of course have to mention the:

32 oz craft beers for only $10 each

Because why would anyone else ever go?

So, farewell to those beloved Flying Squirrels of ours. You’ve provided me with numerous hours of entertainment, funny stories, and hangovers. Farewell to Parney and his weird pants. Farewell to the baseball players whose names I can never remember. Farewell to John Macadamia Nut.

You’ll be on my mind all winter.

See you next spring.


¹ If you’re thinking that actually, the ending of summer technically doesn’t mean that baseball season is over, that there’s a little thing called “the playoffs;” first of all, stop being such a know-it-all. Second of all, you’ve apparently never seen the Flying Squirrels play.

² Don’t you dare say the Redskins because first of all, what a waste of money for the city and second of all, their training camp is really boring.

Oh, and third of all their name is racist.

³ And anyway, we ended up keeping the stadium where it is. Ha, ha! Oh Richmond!

I don’t actually know their names. If you do, please advise.

5 This is a subtle hint to the Flying Squirrels representatives to give me a free shirt because I have never managed to be in the line of fire during those t-shirt toss things. I mean it’s just not fair.

6 AND they manage to clean the field while they’re at it!

This is not sarcasm, I’m genuinely wondering where. The Squirrels only do it a couple of times a month, I’m wondering if there’s somewhere else I can go to watch fireworks in the meantime.7.1 


7.1 Look, I’m not always sarcastic, and now I’m actually a little offended that you thought I was being rude towards the Flying Squirrels and their fireworks display.7.1.1 


7.1.1 Sorry for my outburst. I’m just a little hungry. Sorry. I hope I didn’t hurt your feelings.