When I was growing up, I remember looking forward to the first day of school each year. “Back then” we didn’t start back to school in the fall until after Labor Day. In Oklahoma, it was still hot as blue blazes in September, but at least, the evenings and nights were cooling off. I dreaded seeing summer end, but by September, I was feeling the pull to go back to school, see my friends—and I’d never admit it—start learning again!

Jane Carroll, my best friend, and I playing in the sandbox. I was 8 and Jane was 9.

By the time October rolled around, things had definitely become more “fall-like” and the sun had taken on the “autumn slant” as the days grew shorter, as well. My mom used to take note of the seasonal changes very keenly, and I remember her saying, “Well, fall is here.” There was no need to explain—it was in the coolness of the air, the more orange tint of the sun, the shorter days.

Of course, to a child, “fall” meant that Halloween was coming! Back in those days, it was still safe to go door-to-door with friends, all of us together in the crisp night air, a giggling mass of energy all dressed in our finery (most of us with homemade costumes, not store-bought) and those little plastic pumpkins with the handles to carry our “loot” home in. “TRICK OR TREAT!” we’d call out at each door, and our neighbors would always pretend they thought they were giving candy to princesses and pirates, superheroes and witches.

November brought Thanksgiving—a time when we’d usually go to my grandparents’ houses. I was the “lucky” one of all my cousins (and I had 40+ cousins!) because in the small town of Calera, Oklahoma, I had my dad’s parents who lived at one end of town, and my mom’s parents who lived at the other end. Cousins, aunts, and uncles from both sides also lived there, so many of my cousins from both sides of the family went to school with each other and knew one another as friends and fellow sports teammates. Those were simpler times—we could walk all over town without fear of any foul play, and I had grandparents at each end of town, so no matter which cousins I was with, we had somewhere to walk to.



The town of Calera, Oklahoma, year unknown. It was a water stop for trains and was called Cale Switch or Cale Station, but when the railroad wanted to rename it Sterrett, the people insisted on a compromise–and Calera was born. This is the main street of the town–much more lively than it was when we kids were walking it back in the mid-late 60’s and early 70’s.


The big treat was stopping in at the one and only “grocery store”—more like an Old West mercantile store—that was about at the halfway mark through town. It had a glass case with bologna and ham inside and a big slicer that the store owner, Petey, would use to cut your lunchmeat. Then, he’d wrap it in freezer paper and tie it up with twine. Petey’s store also had one of those big chest-type coolers with a sliding top, filled with ice and bottled pop. That was back when a bottle of pop was ten cents or so—and a candy bar could be had for a few pennies more.


There’s nothing like family and Thanksgiving dinner all together to bring “Autumn Fever” to the highest level. Doesn’t Thanksgiving just speak to us of autumn? By that time of the year, even in Oklahoma, the leaves have turned some beautiful rich colors of gold, red, orange, and brown and drifted from the trees. The winds have become colder and more cutting (and that’s saying something here in Oklahoma!) and of course there’s that “fall smell” in the air. And probably that’s one of the things I love most about autumn—the smell. There is nothing like the feeling of being tucked up inside four strong walls with food to eat, a fire going in the fireplace, and a good book to read. And did I mention a dog’s head on my lap? But celebrating fall took on a whole new meaning when we moved to West Virginia. I had never seen colors on the trees like what we saw there–such a wonderful display of nature–and it happens every year!

Rick Burgess is an excellent professional photographer who is a good friend–he specializes in pictures of the natural beauty of “Wild, Wonderful West Virginia” and this is one that was taken at Plum Orchard Lake in the fall. Isn’t it gorgeous? See the link below if you would like to see more of Rick’s wonderful art!

I know a lot of people will think this is strange, but I’ve never been a coffee or hot tea drinker. Yet, in the fall, I DO want something warm to drink—and this is it. This drink is very easy to make and keep on hand—and I haven’t tried making it with any artificial sweetener yet, but this year I’m going to do just that instead of using sugar and see how it turns out. This “friendship tea” is also good to make and give as a gift in a pretty container (that’s how I got it in the very beginning, and I have been so glad someone did that for me so many years ago!)



                                                                                 FRIENDSHIP TEA

This wonderful drink is ready in 5 minutes, and makes 4 cups of the instant mix.



1 -1 1/2 cup sugar (or less, to taste)

2 cups instant Tang orange drink

1/2 cup sweetened iced tea mix powder

1 (1/4 ounce) envelope unsweetened lemonade mix

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves (or you can also put in whole cloves if you like)



Combine all ingredients well and store in an airtight container.

To use, fill a mug with boiling water and stir in 2-3 teaspoons of mix, to taste.

If all you can find is presweetened lemonade, then use the amount of dry mix needed for a 2 -quart pitcher according to the package instructions and leave out the sugar.


This recipe has been around for many years, but this iteration of it came from GENIUS KITCHEN and is close to the one I’ve had in my recipe box for all this time.


I have to admit, by Christmas I’m certainly missing fall, and “Autumn Fever” takes on a new meaning—I want it BACK! As sad as I was to see summer end, that’s how I feel when the winter ice and snow comes—I’m immediately nostalgic for fall!


What do you do in the autumn months? Are you glad to see them come and herald summer’s end? I do read a lot, as I’m sure many of us do here at P&P. Please share any good books you’ve read so we can all build our reading list!

Right now, I’m reading one of Sabrina Jeffries’s regency stories–all her stories are sooo darn good you can’t go wrong. Next on my list is a wonderful “re-read”– NOBODY’S DARLING by Teresa Medeiros. Here’s the blurb–I know it’s wonderful because I read it a good while back but want to enjoy it again!

He always gets his lady…
Billy Darling doesn’t enjoy being a wanted man until the day a duke’s prim and proper granddaughter comes marching into the Tumbleweed Saloon and points her derringer at his heart. Lucky for him, she’s a mighty poor shot.

She always gets her man…
Instead of killing him, Esmerelda Fine hires him to find her runaway brother. Billy knows he should turn down her offer. He should resist her charms. But he doesn’t. Because there comes a time in every man’s life when he’s got nothing left to lose…but his heart.

I’d also love to hear your childhood memories of fall–and I do hope you’ll try this wonderful “friendship tea” recipe when those autumn winds begin to blow—it’s a sure cure for AUTUMN FEVER!

Be sure to leave a comment to be entered in a drawing for the wonderful PRAIRIE ROSE PUBLICATIONS boxed set MAIL ORDER BRIDES FOR SALE: THE REMINGTON SISTERS! This is a complete boxed set of four full length novels by Livia J. Washburn, Cheryl Pierson, Jacquie Rogers and Celia Yeary!

Here’s the blurb to whet your appetite:

Brought up in the wealth and comfort of Eastern “old money” in staid and proper Philadelphia, the Remington sisters are forced to scatter to the four winds and become mail-order brides. In order to gain a fortune, their sinister step-father, Josiah Bloodworth, has made plans to marry them off in loveless marriages. Time is running out, and no matter what lies ahead in their uncertain futures, it has to be better than the evil they’re running from…

LIZZY: Livia J. Washburn
Elizabeth Remington’s world is turned upside down when she is forced to become a mail-order bride. With her cat, Fulton, Lizzy flees to Alaska—only to discover the man she’s to marry is not who she thought he was! Now, she must protect herself from the biggest danger of all—her own heart. Handsome Flint McKinnon has signed his soul away to her step-father, hasn’t he? He’s chased Lizzy across the continent, but can she believe him when he says he loves her?

BELLE: Jacquie Rogers
Belle Remington must marry someone before the dangerous Neville Fenster catches up with her. She hightails it out of Philadelphia to the wilds of Idaho Territory to become a bootmaker’s bride, but when she arrives in Oreana, she discovers her groom has been murdered! Now, handsome, inebriated rancher Cord Callahan insists on fulfilling the marriage contract himself. Belle is beautiful and smart as a whip. But she has a secret. When Fenster shows up, can Cord protect the woman he wants to love forever?

SABRINA: Cheryl Pierson
Impulsive Sabrina Remington, the youngest, weds a man she knows her family would disapprove of. Though Cameron Fraser’s family owns a ranch in lawless Indian Territory, he’s made his way in the world with a gun, living barely on the right side of the law. With everything on the line as Bloodworth and his henchmen close in, will Cam be able to protect Sabrina from the desperate man who means to kidnap her for his own wicked purposes?

LOLA: Celia Yeary
Sensible Lola Remington, the eldest of the four sisters, must be certain the others are on their way to safety before she can think of fleeing Philadelphia herself. With the help of a local bridal agency, Lola finds the perfect husband for herself—in the wild countryside of Texas. Jack Rains owns a ranch and he’s in need of a bride—and children, of course! But just when Lola starts to believe there might be a future for them, she discovers a hidden letter from another woman…Jack’s first wife.



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A native Oklahoman, I've been influenced by the west all my life. I love to write short stories and novels in the historical western and western romance genres, as well as contemporary romantic suspense! Check my Amazon author page to see my work:
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52 thoughts on “AUTUMN MEMORIES, A GIVEAWAY, AND FRIENDSHIP TEA–by Cheryl Pierson”

  1. Great blog, I love Fall it brings to mind relaxing and enjoying the leaves turning. It’s also the time of year where I get excited for the ore holiday season. I loved school so the fall reminds me of a new year with new goals.

    • Tonya, I agree. It seems that September always brings its own kind of renewal just like spring does. But for me, loving school like I did, September meant getting to learn so much new information. I was such a bookworm in the summer–read and read, but missed the teaching part of learning over those summer months, so was always ready for school to start again.

  2. Loved your blog. I love fall! I’m always ready to eat more soups, stews and hearty meals we don’t eat in the hot Texas summers. Of course, fall isn’t very cool here usually. We are supposed to have a very cold winter this year and I’m ready for it. Having MS I hate and do not tolerate the heat very well! My favorite fall memories are memories from Kentucky and Tennessee as a young child. Back when my brothers and sisters were all still alive and living under the same roof. I loved halloween and going trick-or-treating door to door. It makes me sad that its not a common thing anymore.

    • Stephanie, I know what you mean. I am in Oklahoma City and we get a lot of the same weather patterns. It’s still in the 80’s here for the most part during the day, but the nights are starting to cool off into the 60’s. So I know those cooler days are coming. I made chili the other night for the first time this season, even though it wasn’t really a “cold” evening, it was just something I was really hungry for and lord was it good. LOL We still have trick-or-treaters here in my neighborhood, but not nearly like we did even when my kids were growing up.

  3. I too love the smells and colors of Fall. While I miss the summer I’m grateful for the drop in temperature and humidity. Your post brought back the old memories of making our own costumes and seeing dozens of other moms and kids. Having 7 kids we’d end up with huge amounts if treats and candies. Thanksgiving was the best. Our family would gather around the have a our family was huge. More then half are gone now but always in our hearts.

    • Carol, how I remember those wonderful Thanksgiving meals! One time my cousin Julie and I got into the refrigerator at my grandmother’s house and saw a package of Milky Way candy bars (both of our favorites!) and we waited until everyone got busy and took those candy bars out into the woods nearby to eat them. It didn’t dawn on us that we couldn’t just eat one or two and get the rest back into the house… so…we ate every one of them–I think there were about 8 of them. My aunt had bought them to make a special cake. Oh, my gosh. When she discovered those were gone I thought we were DEAD. LOL I think we were about 10 or 11. I will never forget that and of course our moms were just mortified. And we were soooo sick from all that candy. LOL Those family get togethers were really wonderful, and we made so many good memories.

  4. I am not so much a “fall girl”. I much prefer the spring. Fall reminds me that winter is coming and winter is my least favorite season. I do enjoy the turning of the leaves and Halloween/Thanksgiving. Halloween is my second favorite holiday.

    For me, Halloween meant dressing up in costumes (sometimes handmade and sometimes store bought) and using an old pillowcase to collect treats instead of the plastic pumpkins. I remember one Halloween my mother worked late so my best friends mom quickly made up a costume for me. It was just a colored sheet (I don’t remember the color) and she colored my face a bright blue and glued little eyes all over my face. (You know those little eyes where the black part is loose inside the clear plastic) It was the best costume I had ever had. My best friend and I had so much fun that Halloween.

    Thank you for a great blog!!

    • Dale, I’m with you there. I really really despise winter so much! Especially more so the older I get. When my kids were 4 and 1, I made matching clown costumes for them. That was one of the most difficult sewing projects I’d ever attempted, and I had sewn for a long time. But there were a lot of the directions that really could have been made simple–why they didn’t I don’t know. I remember getting so frustrated, but I was more than halfway done with them. I couldn’t quit, but I dreaded the thought of pressing on. At one point I just screamed with frustration, and said, “Dear Lord, if you will let me just get these costumes finished I will never sew another thing.” I got them finished, and I have never used that sewing machine again. LOL

  5. I love your celebration of the seasons. I used to love Halloween as a child and then again as a mother. Now I get to experience it as a grandmother. Thanks for the great post. I am going to try the tea.

  6. Living in Texas, I look forward to fall because of the cooler temperatures (once they finally arrive). I used to love Halloween too when I was a kid and enjoyed giving out candy to kids too. We had to stop giving it out a few years back because it is just too dangerous to open the door after dark to anyone in my area. There are very few kids that go door to door. Most go to parties, churches or better parts of town.

    • Janine, we live in a fairly decent area, so I don’t worry so much about opening the door on Halloween, but I have a window in my front door that I love because I can look right out and see who it is and they can see me. If it’s a sales person, or someone handing out flyers, etc. I can just wave my hand to let them know we are not interested and never open up my door. I hate it that just living has become so dangerous anymore.

  7. I adore everything about fall! The smells, sweatshirts, boots, books, cozy blankets, etc. bring it on! We still have mosquitoes and warm weather. I’m hoping that changes soon. I do like winter, but not as much as fall and I miss it when winter comes.

    • Susan, I look forward to fall here in Oklahoma because it’s not as cold as it is in other parts of the country. When we lived in West Virginia, even though it was soooo beautiful out there, there was definitely none of this 80 degree weather on into the end of September and beginning of October. And winter was much harsher and longer there than it is here–lots more snow there. But here in Oklahoma, we end up with ice–so I guess it all balances out. LOL

  8. I read more( no more gardening) and watch football in the Fall. I finished Shelter in Place by Nora Roberts and am now reading Leverage in Death by J. D Robb. I remember walking to school and scuffing through the leaves on the road.

    • Oh, Estella, yes! Those leaves–we had a neighbor across the street who had two of those silver-leaf maple trees in his front yard and those leaves were just beautiful when they’d turn and fall. It was right on my way to school, and I would just delight in finding the most lovely ones every day.

  9. Thank you for sharing your wonderful blog. Fall is my very favorite time of the year. The color, the crispness of the air..I love it! Growing up in simpler times was the best!

    • Melanie, that is so true. I miss those days so much. Life today is so hurried and rushed, and those memories of our growing up days, I know, are tinted with “rose colored glasses” but truthfully, they were such slower, happier times.

  10. Love your post and it reminds me of my childhood. We lived in a small community that has a couple of country stores that you could walk to. You could get most of what you really needed at the time. Seems like you could buy a bottle of pop and a big candy bar for about ten cents. Those were the good old days.

    • Quilt Lady, I remember how we’d walk to the railroad tracks (where we were NOT supposed to go!) and eat our candy bar and drink our pop, then when we got ready to go back to Granny’s house, we’d stop by Petey’s store on the way home and get our 2 cents or 3 cents for the empty pop bottles we brought back.

    • Kay, thanks so much for stopping by! I love that picture of Jane and me. Jane passed away a few years ago and I think of her so often, still. There is nothing like having a good friend.

  11. I enjoy fall because I can walk outside a lot more without sweating so much and the cool morning are just so nice to be outdoors. Here the leaves were already falling because of lack of rain and not cooler weather more green leaves on the ground hoping that we will at least see a little color in the next month.

    • Oh, wow, Kim. We have had the wettest August and September ever here in OK City–and it’s still in the works–expecting more tomorrow and Wednesday. Our leaves are still green, grass is still doing well, too. That’s what I really do miss about West Virginia–the beautiful colors in the fall–all around.

  12. I had cousins that lived close to me, so my time all through the year was playing with them. We also played sports together, went trick or treating together and would gather at my grandma’s house for Thanksgiving. Always a BIG gathering there. We would drink hot chocolate or hot apple cider. I had a wonderful childhood. Now, I stay busy with my kids and their activities. We do drink a lot of hot tea, hot chocolate and cider. We will have to give the friendship tea a try!

    • Joy, those are a lot of really wonderful memories. We lived in the central part of Oklahoma when I was growing up and most of my cousins and my grandparents lived in the southeastern part. So while it wasn’t terribly far–we could drive down for the weekends pretty easily–there were some of my cousins who didn’t live right there that I didn’t get to see but maybe on the bigger holidays or in the summer. I know you will love that tea, and it’s so easy to just keep it on hand.

  13. Autumn used to be my favorite time of year and I, too, loved getting back to school. It’s nice to remember all the fall festivities, especially when you lived in a small town, like you did. I did, too. One of the biggies in my home town and for the elementary school I went to was a parade, in full Halloween costume, down Main Street through downtown by us kids to “promote” our school’s Halloween carnival. Those were wonderful times, thinking back!

    • Hebby, I don’t remember us having a fall festival or Halloween carnival or anything like that where I lived. Maybe it just wasn’t something we did that much of. I remember open house being in October, it seemed like. But it’s strange that we didn’t have a fall festival of some kind. What a neat thing, to get to dress up and march in the parade! I remember MANY parades, for sure, because in my school, 8-12 were in one school, and so 8th graders were in highschool band. We had the trial by fire, as far as learning to march and do those football halftime shows, etc. LOL And God help you if you got out of step in a parade! LOL Those sure were some great times!

  14. Good morning, my fellow Filly and friend. What a great blog and such wonderful memories and pictures. Thanks for kicking off our Autumn Fever Special Week. I like to sleep a little later in the fall because of the cooler weather here in Texas. Also, love to cook more…stew, chili and meatloaf with all the fixin’s. Much love, P

    • Hey Phyliss! I do cook more in the fall and winter just because of the stuff I can make that is in one pot–chili, stew, pinto beans, and so on. I’m glad you mentioned meatloaf because I have not made that in so long, and I have a fantastic recipe that was my mother’s. Hmmm…maybe I will be making that this week… My sleeping late days are coming to an end the 1st of October when hubby goes back to work. LOL Love you!

  15. What a wonderful and special post which warmed my heart. I loved the tea since tea is my favorite hot drink which is soothing. I love summer but fall where I live is perfect. Blue skies and moderate temps to enjoy walks and lovely evenings.

    • Aw, Anne! I’m so glad you liked it. I bet you’ll like the tea–it’s really good. I love the summer too. It’s my favorite season, but probably if I had to pick a second fave it would be fall.

  16. I enjoy summer most of all even though the heat can be oppressive. Autumn is delightful and fills my heart with joy. Your tea drink is so enticing. School started after Labor Day which was great timing since the weather had become cooler and more conducive.

    • April, when I was in school we started after Labor Day, too. But anymore they start in the middle of August! And here in Oklahoma, it’s really too hot for that–some of our schools still don’t have a/c. Hope you enjoy the tea!

    • Steal away, Linda! LOL I hope you enjoy it. I haven’t made it in a couple of years, but got the stuff at the store the other day and I’m making it soon! So glad you stopped by!

  17. I guess I’ll be the odd man out here on several fronts. While I do enjoy fall colors and the relief from summer’s high temps, spring is my favorite season because it means rebirth in nature–watching everything coming back to life. Also, although I was a good student, I never looked forward to going back to school because it meant the end of summer’s freedom–as does being closed up in the house more because of cold temps here on the East Coast.

    I’m also an odd man out because other than when I was little going to church Halloween events, I always found the season creepy–despite the candy. Still do.

    My last example is I’ve always been an inveterate tea drinker. Then when I lived in Scotland, that practice was reinforced. I drink tea hot and cold but I’m picky about the kind of tea I drink–never the bitter Lipton variety or powdered tea mixes. Lemon is out too because it overrides the tea taste. Oddly enough, like those I knew in Scotland, I always did drink hot tea with milk. Odd. Maybe some of that branch of my Scottish and English family lines? Also,in America we don’t get the best teas–most are bitter; I have to search for good tea which for me is Red Rose. BTW, even though Lipton is owned by a UK company, they rarely sell it there. Odd, huh?

    So, fall and winter for me means more reading inside–usually under a warm comforter–with a cup of hot tea, instead of reading outside with a glass of cold tea.


  18. Interesting article. I grew up in a small town in the midwest and know of what you speak. We used to walk down the streets after we got out of the movies. Of course, traffic was little to none in the evenings. And we walked everywhere in the town.

    • Joye I, those were the days, for sure. I miss those simpler times–so much safer and moved at such a slower pace too. Of course when you’re a teenager you can’t wait to leave all that behind. You don’t realize what you’ve given up until later on.

  19. I use the crock pot more, enjoy hot chocolate, and love to decorate in fall colors.

    I had a friend make me friendship tea many years ago.

    • Denise, I miss using my crock pot so much. My kids are grown and gone now, and my husband and I have really grown apart in our food tastes. I love chicken but he has never been a chicken eater. There are so many great chicken recipes for the crock pot, and pork, too–and he doesn’t like either one! Boo! LOL One thing we do agree on though, is hot chocolate!

  20. I haven’t made “Friendship Tea” for years. When our kids were little, not so little really, I kept a can of it in the cupboard. We also gave it as gifts several times in decorative cans or jars. In recent years I have made a cranberry spice tea from scratch.

    I, too, grew up with lots of cousins living fairly close and fall meant spending weekends at our uncle’s poultry farm processing turkeys for his customers. We cousins got to spend lots of time playing while the adults worked. One of our favorite games was sticking chicken or turkey feathers in the ends of corn cobs and throwing them. They would fly through the air like arrows….lots of fun. Of course as we got older we were recruited as part of the work force, too.

    • Alice, that’s how I first learned about Friendship Tea–I got it for a gift at Christmas from one of my little piano students. I tell you that was the best gift I got that year, and I’ve made it pretty regularly ever since (and that was back in 1975 or so!)

      Oh, those memories of yours made me think of when my granddad’s garden came in and we’d all help pick corn and shuck it and clean it, and the tomatoes and okra and beans…we’d try to do it on one weekend, and I tell you it was a huge production. But we were sure glad to have the vegetables all winter!

    • Caryl, can you believe I’m a born and raised Oklahoman and I do not care one whit for football! My husband married me anyhow…LOL I graduated from University of OK, so I do follow their games, but I’m much more of a baseball fanatic. I hope you enjoy the Friendship Tea!

  21. Thanks for sharing your recipe. I love Fall and my memories as a child revolve around Halloween. I grew up in a small town during the time when trick-or-treating was fun and innocent. I remember my best friend and I being out after dark and there was no fear of danger. Today, in this same small town, Halloween is 5-7, during daylight hours!

    • We still have Halloween trick-or-treaters where I live in Oklahoma City, but there are many alternatives for the kids other than going door to door. But in my neighborhood, there aren’t a whole lot of small kids and so many of us have lived here so long there is no “bad” stuff that happens. Still, in this day and age, I would sure be wary if I had little ones.

  22. Our Fall memories are pretty much the same. I lived in the middle of apple country in Northern NY and Fall meant harvest time. We lived across the street form an orchard and were allowed to have all the “drops” we wanted. My mom worked sorting apples a few years, but except for doing research project for college in another neighbor’s orchard, I never worked in the orchard business. I was always busy with school during the busiest times for them.
    I have always enjoyed walking in the Fall woods with the crunch and smell of fallen leaves. The glorious colors are wonderful for the soul. We lived in the NE part of the state on the border with Vermont. We could see the Green Mountains af Vermont and the White Mountains of New Hampshire, the Presidential Range from our house. To our backs we had the Adirondack Mountains.
    I have made this tea recipe for over 40 years. We called it Russian Tea. I made and gave many jars as gifts. Come to think of it,I haven’t made any in a while. Will have to make time to do so.
    I ordered The Mail Order Prides For Sale set when it first came out. I hope to get to read it on our trip West.

    • Patricia, that sounds like such lovely country. The farthest north I’ve ever lived was in West Virginia. Those winters were brutal, to poor li’l ol’ Oklahoma me. LOL Hubby was from WV, but he didn’t like those winters either, so we moved to Oklahoma a few years after we married and he was working for the FAA. Yes, I’ve heard it called Russian Tea, Russian Friendship Tea and just plain ol’ Friendship Tea. I think the recipes are all pretty similar and they’re all wonderful. Especially for people like me who don’t drink coffee but want something warm to drink. Glad you got your copy of Mail Order Brides for Sale–hope you will enjoy it!

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