Wednesday, October 31 — Halloween at our home in southern Arizona
My neighbor tells me there used to be hay rides through the neighborhood on Halloween. (We’re having another chat over the chain link fence.)
“There’d be seventy kids or more on those rides,” he recalls, smiling at the memory.
I have my own happy memories of hay rides.
He adds . . . “until one fell off and got hurt, so they shut that down.”
That’s the way it goes these days.
Used to be, if a kid wasn’t careful and had an accident, parents would shrug and admonish their horrified children, “Let that be a lesson to you,” and we’d still be allowed to do whatever it was that sent That Kid Who Wasn’t Careful to the emergency ward.
Today we’re all about antiseptic band-aids. Wow. When I was a kid, we didn’t have band-aids of any kind in our house. If I got a boo-boo, my mother would tell me to spit on it and call it better.
And, gosh, most of the time it worked!
Remember the big playground swings with the grey metal pipe pointing to the sky? Those heavy swing seats made of hard wood that hung from long CHAINS? Iron chains, I think they were.
Periodically some kid would push that swing seat as hard as he or she could and stand there stupefied as the plank of wood swung waaaaay out and up, paused as if reconsidering, and then came swooping back down with a vengeance to knock the kid smack in the teeth.
Oh, we learned our lessons.
We learned important stuff.
We learned to pay attention because the road of life is going to bounce you, and, if you aren’t holding on to something, you might just fall out of your happy hay wagon.
We learned to spit on our wounds, believe they will get better, and resume play.
We learned when we push we’d better be prepared to get a push back.
~ ~ ~
The only Halloween-ers in costume I saw this season were the adults down at the thrift shop. The adult-sized costumes had been flying off the racks all week.
Let me pause to point out a distinction: A witch and Spider Man in a child’s size 4 can be cute. In size adult’s extra large?
Not so cute. Too real.
Anyway . . .
I appreciate the effort. I don’t understand it, but I realize everyone has their own, personal idea of what’s fun.
At the thrift shop the mood is festive with a bit of the usual, bargain-crazed edginess. I’m feeling pretty festive myself, having found a nifty planter buried in the dark, nether region of the shop. In times past the planter was a swan. Now it’s a dirty, moldy “ugly duckling.”
I’m feeling smug as I set my prize on the counter and hand over three dollars.
Hmpff! Other thrift shoppers (less astute than I) rejected this planter, but not me . . .
I see potential!
I take the planter home and give it a hearty scrubbing with a Brillo pad, rinsing her off with the backyard hose.
I pop a pot of lantana between her wings and set her in a place of honor overseeing the flower bed.
Oh, isn’t she lovely!
My original plan on the way home from the thrift store was to spray paint her black, maybe be trendy and “distress” the paint to give a weathered look.
Who am I kidding? Me? Trendy? I like her best the way you see her here, clean and pretty, as she was meant to be.
~ ~ ~
A poem: “The Swan”
And then our dying—releasing ourselves
from the very ground on which we stood—
is like the way he hesitantly lowers himself
into the water.
It gently receives him,
and, gladly yielding, flows back beneath him,
as wave follows wave,
while he, now wholly serene and sure,
with regal composure,
allows himself to glide.
— Poem by Rainer Maria Rilke, translation by Joanna Macy and Anita Barrows
~ ~ ~
I forgot to answer the questions burning in your mind.
No, we didn’t have any trick-or-treaters, and, no, I didn’t turn off all the lights and hide in a back room.
These days parents take their children to alternative programs in town or at their church. No more traipsing up and down streets with their little, costumed creatures. No more chauffeuring their precious offspring to the doors of strangers.
Apparently the trick-or-treat custom has gone the way of hay rides and monster swings that draw blood. At least in our neighborhood anyway.
Not one trick-or-treater. I had to eat the bag of Twix miniatures all by myself.
NOTE: The next post will be on a completely different topic and there will be more photos. I promise. — Sue
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