Tuesday, October 6, 2009


Hanford Dixon and Frank Minnifield

The leaves are turning their seasonal colors of yellow, brown, rust, and all the shades in between. Autumn is upon us. My wife loves it. I don't. I have begun my fall routine of moving perennials and gathering the last of a disappointing season of tomatoes but a bounty of hot peppers. Soon I'll be raking leaves and putting them through the chipper/shredder for the compost pile. With the exception of gardening, I'm not much for the great outdoors. Fall reminds me that the cold months will soon be here. There are no snow days when you work for a newspaper.

Many people love fall because – with the right light – it makes for pretty photographs. I don't think I was ever much of a nature photographer. I shot my share of so-called fall feature photos, but it was not something I relished. I'm not one for getting next to nature by camping. I've slept on the ground with Marines at Camp Pendleton, in a sleeping bag on a rooftop in Port Sudan, and on a dusty sneeze-inducing couch in Haiti. All of that and more for the assignment. I prefer a room with cable TV.

October also means that my team, the Cleveland Browns, are well into another season of futility. Right now, they’re 0-4. Once upon a time they had style, if not championships. Prior to a game between the Bengals and the Browns at the old Cleveland Municipal Stadium, Hanford Dixon and Frank Minnifield made a pre-game trek across the frozen field in their fur coats and uniform pants. Style yes, but as I recall, they lost the game 21-0.