The temperature continues to work its way downward, the skies are usually way too gray, and what leaves are left on the trees should soon be falling.
It's the time of the season when a bowl of steaming soup and a grilled cheese sandwich sound good around lunchtime.
With that in mind, and with the calendar telling us it's time for our fourth and final virtual lunches of the year, here are my picks for partners to break bread with while enjoying an hour's worth of conversation:
º Ray Heilmann: The director of campus ministry at Quincy University never has a bad day. It's always a pleasure to talk with him about anything. If you leave a conversation with Ray not feeling good, it's probably your own fault. Lunch at: The Abbey, which is close to QU. We'll have a late lunch when it opens at 3 p.m. That way, Ray is not pulled away from one of his noontime speaking engagements. We can split an order of the stuffed mushrooms. Well, maybe two orders.
º Bridget Moynahan: The "Bluebloods" co-star is one of the integral figures on this hit show, where strong family values perfectly accent the good-guys-and-bad-guys story lines centered on the New York Police Department. Lunch at: Zoup. I'll suggest Bridget try the lobster bisque, with a grilled cheese sandwich, since it's that time of the year.
º Kyle Moore: The Quincy mayor is a little down in the dumps these days. He's still saddened by his favorite baseball team, the Los Angeles Dodgers, losing the World Series to the Houston Astros. Lunch at: Cassano's Pizza. Nothing can pick up your spirits like a 16-inch deluxe.
º Gus Johnson: He's my favorite sports announcer these days. Formerly at CBS, Gus now does major events for Fox, and at least once during every broadcast you'll hear "Whoaaaaaaa!!!" Lunch at: On the Rail Sports Bar and Grill. Gus will feel right at home with all of those TVs. I think he'll like the swordfish tacos.
º Jill Arnold Blickhan: For 16 years, she has directed the Community Foundation Serving West Central Illinois and Northeast Missouri, a job she truly enjoys. There are few people who know more about Quincy and the surrounding communities than Jill. Lunch at: The Village Inn, which is relatively close to the foundation's headquarters and the perfect spot to enjoy breakfast in the middle of the day.
º Sean Combs: I really need to know the story behind all the name changes, from Puff Daddy to Puffy, to P. Diddy to Diddy -- and now "Love" or "Brother Love." Lunch at: Drake's Steak and Ale. I'll suggest the grilled pork chop to Diddy, or whatever name he is going by that day.
º The Rev. Jack Emmite: Jack is the pastor of the Antioch Baptist Church near Hannibal, Mo. Everyone should hear his story about how the church has bounced back from a December fire. Lunch at: Fiddlestiks. I think Jack would enjoy the Big Porker.
º Kevin James: The star of "Kevin Can Wait" seems a lot like me, kind of oversized, loves to watch sports and eat pizza. We might talk -- and eat -- all day. Lunch at: Anywhere there is an endless pizza buffet.