How to Ship Dead Leaves


This cemetery has stones dating back as far as the early 1700s. It is cared for, but sadly, some of the stones had fallen over years ago and were never repaired, so some names are lost to history.

My sister Missie, who lives in Texas, misses autumn in New England, and she’s been a little down lately. “I really miss the smell,” she said.

I joked and told her I could send her some dead leaves. That night I was on my way up to an old cemetery I frequent at this time of year.

“Even better — especially cemetery leaves!” she said.

It didn’t take long for me to stop thinking of it as a joke and realize it wouldn’t be a hard thing to do, and it just might cheer her up.

It seemed silly to send a Tupperware full of dead leaves, so I went ahead and got some additional autumn items to fill up the box—one thing in particular that was important were Entenmann’s baked goods (they don’t sell them in Texas) which, fortunately, had just put out its autumn editions like apple cider donuts and pumpkin cake (even though as kids we were just big fans of their regular old crumb cake—Dad always had it in the house).

Photo of Missie's Autumn Box

I think it was more fun putting all this stuff together than it probably was getting it! From center, clockwise: Dead leaves, Reese’s Peanut Butter Pumpkin, a black cat pin, a black cat keychain (which meows when a button is pressed), M&M’s Milk Chocolate Candy Corn, Butterfinger/Baby Ruth/Nestle Crunch combo bag (in festive fall colors!), Entenmann’s Cider Donuts, Betty Crocker Maple Bacon cookie mix and frosting, purse-sized autumn leaf-patterned tissues, an apple cider car air freshener, an owl pen (which hoots when a button is pressed), and an owl car magnet.

Her reaction was better than I expected! She said it made her whole day or even month. “Do you remember when we used to play Leaf Monster[1]? It smelled just like that.”

I hadn’t thought of Leaf Monster in years (and now that I think about it there just might be a short story in there somewhere). But that isn’t the point. The point is that doing something positive for someone—even if it’s small—can change the course of his day, I need to do it more often.

So…to whom will you ship some dead leaves?

Missie's Facebook Message

What my sister posted on Facebook when she got her box.

[1] Leaf Monster was a game in which my siblings and I (often three of us) would hide in one of various piles of raked leaves while one person looked. If you found the “Leaf Monster” and he caught you before you got to a “safe zone,” you were next to hide in the piles. It was like tag, I guess. Except with dead leaves and I’m sure we came inside covered in not just dirt but bugs too. Our parents must have loved that.

About kristipetersenschoonover

A ghost story writer who still sleeps with the lights on, Kristi Petersen Schoonover’s fiction has appeared in many magazines and anthologies; her traditionally published books include a short story collection, THE SHADOWS BEHIND. She was the recipient of three Norman Mailer Writers Colony Residencies and holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College. She serves as co-host of the DARK DISCUSSIONS podcast, as founding editor of the dark literary journal 34 ORCHARD, and is a member of the New England Horror Writers. Follow her adventures at

Posted on October 13, 2014, in Deep Thoughts & Fun Stuff and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.


    This is wonderful!!!

  2. Love it…..and love Fall…be blessed.

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