Thursday, October 31, 2013
When I was a little girl, I could never get to sleep the night before Halloween. It was a couple of notches down from the keyed-up restlessness of Christmas Eve - after all, I didn't have to listen for reindeer on the roof or a big ol' red-suited elf falling down the chimney into my living room - but the butterflies-in-stomach excitement was there all the same.
What kept me awake, I wonder? Was candy such a big deal? Was dressing up as someone or something else worth losing sleep over? I really can't remember what had me in such a dither the night before Halloween.
My mother - my Southern Baptist, right-of-Attila-the-Hun mother - loved Halloween. (This is how I know that all the anti-Halloween right-wing stuff is pure crap.) She dangled the shiny idea of "tricks-and-treats" over our heads the entire month of October. She enjoyed helping us with our costumes and had fun giving out candy to the kids who came to the door. My costume was usually homemade - seems like I was always a gypsy - except for when I was 8 and 9 years old.
One year for some reason Daddy sprung for a Siam Princess costume from the dime store. I think it cost a whopping $2.98, and I remember choosing it. Siam Princess? I liked the mask and the shiny yellow and bright pink coverall with some sort of intricate (to an 8-year-old) sparkly design. Notice I chose a princess who could wear pants, not a fluffy skirt. I got two Halloweens'-worth of wear out of it, so when you amortorize the cost, well - practically free. (Yes, it was a little big the first year and a little small the second.)
I think one thing that kept me awake was the anticipation of being allowed to go door to door, never knowing who'd give you what, trying to set a goal of how many houses you could get to or how big a paper sack you'd be able to fill. We always took paper bags to collect candy - no plastic pumpkins or trendy little totes - except for the big kids (and you really weren't supposed to trick-or-treat over the age of 12 - but some boys pushed it to 14), who carried pillowcases. The idea of collecting candy, or whatever - because you were just as likely to get apples or homemade cookies - was exciting. That stuff just wasn't as readily available to us on a day to day basis. Candy, cookies, Coca-Cola - those were all for special occasions. Like Halloween.
I don't remember getting much chocolate; it was mostly hard candy or wax lips or bubble gum. I well remember the excitement of getting home and dumping it all in the middle of the floor, pooling our resources, trading this or that, with big brother David coming in at the end with a bulging pillowcase (or two) to add to the loot.
As we got too old for trick-or-treating, there were usually parties or the coming-of-age thrill of getting to answer the door and hand out candy.
And tonight? Well, I think I'll sleep tonight without difficulty. The jack o'lantern's carved, the house decorated inside and out, the treats are over-flowing the special Halloween tray. I won't dress up tomorrow night - I have done on occasion, but I will love seeing the little cuties come to the door - some in awe of the whole thing, standing there dumb-founded, some shouting "trick or treat!" so loud they blow out all the candles in the house, the princesses and the clowns and the Batmen and the Harry Potters.
Still, if I lie in bed tonight and try to dredge up the feeling of being an 8-year-old Siam Princess again, who knows? Maybe I won't get much sleep after all.
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Unkindness seems to be rampant these days. Basic civility, which in the past helped check rude, mean, insensitive behavior, has flown out the window. There are no barriers to saying whatever one's thinking or acting on individual foibles and prejudices. As important as individual rights of speech and action are (within the law), those rights do nothing to contribute to a more civil society if the individual loses compassion and the ability to see oneself as part of a bigger community.
Maybe kindness seems more elusive now than in the past simply because we are bombarded with human wretchedness 24/7. Yet, it seems too easy to blame the internet and media outlets, though both certainly spread cynicism, anger, and the urge to get revenge on whoever/whatever rubs us the wrong way. I think it runs deeper than that, but I'm at a loss as to an answer.
Nothing I've said is news. and, honestly, I can't do anything about anyone but myself. While I'm certainly free to say whatever I want or act on whatever skewed feelings I may have, I don't have to do either. I can make an effort to check words and actions I may later regret. It's not only about avoiding unkindness; it's about being actively kind.
So, as we head into the season of thankfulness and celebration, I plan to be more intentionally kind. I will do my best to avoid petty arguments over politics, lifestyles, or sports teams and look for ways to a pay a compliment, relieve a burden, or create a pleasant surprise. I will try to remember the words I learned as a little child, "Be ye kind." It's worth a try.
Saturday, October 19, 2013
#7 The Werewolf. What I love about these furry creatures is that they're usually nice guys in human form, at least according to the film-world. Not sure why sweetie pies are targeted for the werewolf curse, but they are, so it's hard not to find them kinda dreamy. Darn those full moons!
Other pesky scary things - poltergeists, rat/lizard/seaweed-people, congressmen - are also-rans, at least when fed through the Shorty PJs Monster-O-Meter. Light your jack-o'lantern and save your monster-honor for the superstars - witches, ghosts, and vampires.
Sunday, October 13, 2013
OK, so I'm rared back watching that great Halloween cartoon where Donald goes up against "nephews" Huey, Dewey, and Louie and the incomparable Witch Hazel, and the thought comes to me, hey, wait a minute, how are H,D, & L really related to Donald?
Yeah, I know. It's just a cartoon. All made-up stuff from the mind of "Uncle" Walt. (Really? Why do we think of him as "uncle?" - but that's for another day.) Still, you have to admit there's seemingly no familial relationship between Donald and his "nephews." Are they the ducklings of The Donald's sister? Brother? Why don't we ever see Donald's siblings then, even a quickie shot of them dropping off/picking up H,D, & L at their "uncle's" house?
And don't even get me started on Mickey's "nephews" Morty and Ferdie, Daisy's "nieces" April, May, and June, or Minnie's "nieces" Millie and Melody. How does Scrooge McDuck fit into the picture? I think there's more to all of this than meets the eye. Sayin'. Such complex family relationships these mice and ducks have in the mind of "Uncle" Walt!
Now, if I could only figure out why Donald talks in his scrabbly voice while Daisy speaks like a human, I think we could get to the heart of The Donald's crankiness.