By: Travis Naughton

It’s been over a year and a half since life in these United States has felt “normal”. More than 700,000 Americans have died of complications related to Covid-19 since the pandemic began. Yet last weekend, life felt normal again. Finally.

Fall has always been my favorite time of year. Football, post-season baseball, and local arts & crafts festivals are in full swing in Autumn. Last weekend, enjoying all of those activities felt perfectly normal again.

The weekend began with the Southern Boone Eagles football team defeating School of the Osage on SoBoCo’s Senior Night before an enthusiastic crowd of spectators. The next day, Ol’ Mizzou resumed its 110-year Homecoming tradition after a mostly virtual celebration last year. The city of Columbia hosted the parade and football game which both attracted huge crowds of revelers. My wife and I enjoyed tailgating in the parking lot outside of Memorial Stadium and cheering the Tigers on to victory on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon. After a year of no tailgating allowed, it felt great—and perfectly normal—to visit and laugh with old friends again.

On Sunday, we rounded up the whole family and headed to Hartsburg for the famous Pumpkin Festival which was cancelled last year due to the pandemic. The corn fields and the streets of the tiny town were as packed as ever with locals and visitors excited to attend the beloved festival once again. While there, my family drank our fill of homemade root beer, ate funnel cakes and turkey legs, and saw lots of familiar, smiling faces. I was greeted with bone-crushing hugs and energetic waves by a few of my former students, which was, of course, the highlight of my day.

See more in this weeks Boone County Journal