The Dog Ate Their Candy

It is well past midnight and were I a smarter man I would be fast asleep in my bed. Instead I am seated at the kitchen table listening to iTunes share a collection of songs that mark my entire life. So I sit here wondering about life, people and things.

Like why is it called “fast asleep.” That doesn’t make sense to me. I suppose I could Google it but what fun would that be. Maybe it is supposed to reflect the time it takes to fall asleep. Certainly it is better to fall asleep quickly otherwise you might find yourself counting sheep. Or if you are like me you lie on your back and do higher math. You sit there, er lie there eyes wide open and contemplate how the universe is constructed and what your role is supposed to be.

Earlier today you sent out a Tweet about the dog eating the childrens’ candy and while it was intentionally goofy the sentiment behind it was not. Because there was a moment the night before where you looked at the kids and time stood still. You saw a witch and Obi-Wan-Kenobi transform into teenagers. It happened right in front of you, with your eyes wide open.

That boy suddenly shot up until he could look you in the eye and his voice got awfully deep. His sister wasn’t nearly as tall, but she was clearly a woman. Long black hair and a smile that lit up the room were joined to an exasperated, “daddy, no more pictures.”

The funny thing is that normally her brother hates pictures but that night it was different. For a few moments they were happy to oblige you with smiles and poses.  Some of the songs from the Saturday Morning Music Mash play in the background and I smile as the kids sing along to Imagine. It is a cliche, but it still makes me happy.

Later on we’ll go to a party and walk the neighborhood with other parents and their children. The fathers and I talk about fatherly stuff but we still fulfill our role as the secret service. We walk with an ear to the ground and an eye peeled for things that can hurt, upset or scare the kids.

It won’t be much longer, these moments with the children. Won’t be long before they are too big to go trick or treating. Won’t be long before the elementary school years disappear completely and we enter the chaos of middle school.

As the night ends I’ll carry that witch into the house. For a moment I’ll stand on the driveway holding her in my arms, her head resting on my shoulder. I’ll close my eyes and listen to her breathe and remember the baby that she used to be. Soft snores will accompany my footsteps into the house and I’ll smile as the puppy runs alongside us.

Life is filled with moments that at turn into memories of the special, the sacred and the profane. I only hope to be present and aware so that I may enjoy them all.

Halloween 2010

Every time I hear this music I am taken back to my childhood. It is 1978 and I am a precocious nine year-old boy. Halloween is one of my favorite holidays and I look forward to celebrating it every year. I have a neighbor who lives across the street. His name is Sam and we walk to and from school together.

Some days I go over to his house and we play together until dinner time. Sam has an older brother named Harry who knows much more than we do. In the years that come he and some of his friends will be the guys who educate me about girls. They have magazines that they’ll show us. Magazines with lots of pictures of naked women, but that is a post for a different day.

For now I am focused on the memories of the 9 year-old boy who watched horror movies at Sam’s house. Good old Sam who loved the horror movies and had a room full of models that he would build. Plastic replicas of the Creature from the Black Lagoon, Dracula, Frankenstein and more decorate the walls. When his mom is home we often work together to assemble the latest model. Sometimes Harry suggests that we try sniffing the glue that we use to build the models, but I don’t know why. It smells funny but I am afraid it will hurt me so I don’t do it.

Most of the time Sam’s mom isn’t around so we watch television. We look for the horror movies because those are Sam’s favorites. I like some of them, but not all. I can’t tell him that the reason that I don’t like some of them is because they scare me. If it wasn’t for Harry I might mention that they bother me, but I don’t dare when he is around. He loves to torment us and I refuse to let him call me a baby. Sometimes he hits us but I never cry because I won’t let him know that it hurts.

Time passes and the nine year-old boy I was has a birthday or maybe two. It is hard to remember exact details, but I know that one day I am at Sam’s and they have a machine that  you can use to watch movies. One day we watch Halloween. I know the music from the commercials, but it isn’t until I see that movie that I realize that it is kind of scary.

For a long time after that I find myself worrying about whether someone is hiding in the bushes or in the closet in my room. It doesn’t take much for my active imagination to start thinking about possibilities.  Many years later a 21 year-old man who hates the dark will punch another guy in the mouth. It happens very quickly. The 21 year-old is walking in the dark and all of a sudden he is surprised when someone jumps out at him.

He doesn’t feel badly for hitting this other man, even though he knows him. It was an accident, a mistake and something that probably shouldn’t have happened. But in many ways it did because a kid who was scared silly by a movie felt powerless to defend himself. So as he grew older he forced himself to learn self defense as he couldn’t take the idea of not knowing how.

Twenty years later the man who hit the other man in the mouth is a father. He’ll take his kids trick or treating because they love going and he takes pleasure watching their joy. But at the same time he’ll be scanning the surrounding areas for danger because it is Halloween and part of a father’s job is to make like the Secret Service.

It will probably be fine and his concerns will be for naught, but he can’t help himself because somewhere inside him that nine year-old still lives.

Related Links

Halloween 2007
My Halloween Costume
Look At My Halloween Costume
It is Almost Erev Halloween- A Few Thoughts

Why Carve Pumpkins?

The story of the Jack o’Lantern comes from Irish folklore. Jack was a crafty farmer who tricked the Devil into climbing a tall tree.

When the Devil reached the highest branch, Jack carved a large cross in the trunk, making it impossible for the Devil to climb down. In exchange for help getting out of the tree, the Devil promised never to tempt Jack with evil again.

When Jack died, he was turned away from Heaven for his sins and turned away from Hell because of his trickery. Condemned to wander the Earth without rest, Jack carved out one of his turnips, took an ember from the devil, and used it for a lantern to light his way. He became known as “Jack of the Lantern.”

I found the story here, including a recipe for roasting pumpkin seeds.

Another interesting fact to share, “Today, pumpkins mean big business at Halloween: U.S. farmers grow over a billion pounds a year, worth about $106 million.”

Things That Frighten Me 2009

Every year I run a post that offers a list of things that frighten me. This list was composed around 2005 or so. As it says below some of these are still relevant and some are from the distant past. I probably should take a hard look and see if it is time to add or delete things.

This a list of things that have frightened me in my life. Some are still relevant and some are not. But I thought that it might be interesting to just throw them all out there to see what they look like during daylight hours. P.S. I have explanations for all of these, but I may not include them on the list. Why? I just don’t feel like it. 🙂
  1. The Dark.
  2. The Amityville Horror scared me.
  3. Oscar the Grouch
  4. Bigfoot- The one from the Bionic Man television Show. He gave Steve Austin plenty of trouble.
  5. The Creature in the Legend of Boggy Creek
  6. A couple of dogs that chased me on my paper route.
  7. The homeless guy from the park.
  8. V.L.- He and I got into a fight in high school. I pretty much kicked his ass up and down the corridor, but I do remember shaking with adrenalin afterwards. For about two weeks I was concerned that I was going to have to face him and his older brother again.
  9. Having my heart broken again.
  10. Breaking someone’s heart.
  11. Not being able to provide for my family.
  12. Letting my children down.
  13. Not making it to the bathroom in time.
  14. Finding out that I have a child that I didn’t know about.- Ladies this is never a problem for you, but we men wonder about this sometimes.
  15. Being mugged at an ATM- When I was in college a guy was murdered at the ATM I used that day. It was several hours after I had used it, but….
  16. Something happening to my children.
  17. Getting stuck at a job I hate.
  18. Never living out my dreams.
  19. Being paralyzed.
  20. Losing a parent/close friend or family member- Actually I have lost several friends and family members, but it is still a fear.
  21. Being eaten alive or mauled seriously by a hog. (But I won’t go down easily, so sirree Bob.)
  22. Losing my perspective on life and why most of these things are nonsense.

Some Halloween Links

It is well after midnight and I should be asleep, but I am not. So here is the opening of the posts about Halloween, or should I say links to posts about it.

Halloween 2007 providing links to some of my old posts.