I like Halloween/I don’t like Halloween

I like the color orange, all shades. I like decorating our flower garden with different sizes and kinds of pumpkins. I like smiling Jack-o-lanterns. I like decorating the inside of our house with cute little ghosts and a witch that rocks as she sings, and a little haunted house that lights up. I like seeing the creative costumes people come up with, and watching my grandkids switch from one idea to another as they try to decide what they want to be. I like giving out candy with my witch puppet. I like babies dressed up like puppies or kittens. I like hot chocolate and chili. I like ordering Halloween children’s books. I like candy corn, mini Snickers, and Kit Kats. Oh and Mounds. I love Mounds mini bars. I like pumpkin cookies and pumpkin soup and pumpkin pancakes and pumpkin everything. I like when my grandsons sneak up behind me to scare me and laugh till they fall over when they succeed so amazingly well. I love the fun and funny parts of Halloween.

I don’t like scary faces on Jack-o-lanterns. I don’t like spooky masks or vampires with protruding eye-teeth. I don’t like hairy were-wolf costumes. I don’t like princess costumes that include blood. I don’t like haunted houses or scream movies. I don’t like cobwebs on my face. I don’t like feeling like an overgrown sloth because I’ve overindulged on Snickers and Kit Kats and Mounds bars and pumpkin everything. I don’t like that even though I knew exactly what my grandsons were up to and what was coming, I still lurched back and screamed a piercing Aaaaaah when they jumped out at me. I don’t like the scary part of Halloween.

A Halloween Poem

I first saw this little poem attached to a Jack-o-lantern on a teacher’s desk. I loved it!

I can’t remember what I did yesterday, but I’ve remembered this poem for forty-five years.

THE STRANGER IN THE PUMPKIN

THE STRANGER IN THE PUMPKIN SAID:

“IT’S ALL DARK INSIDE YOUR HEAD.

DON’T YOU KNOW THAT HEADS SHOULD SHINE

FROM DEEP INSIDE THEMSELVES LIKE MINE?

DON’T JUST SIT THERE IN A POUT

WITH THAT DARK DOME STICKING OUT.

IT MAKES ME SICK TO LOOK AT IT.

GO OUT AND GET YOUR CANDLE LIT!”

by John Ciardi

I HAD A LIST, BUT FORGOT MY HUSBAND

4507231c-dd0b-467b-820d-990e87e2ce73

We went on a family trip last week along with thousands of others because it was UEA (Utahns Entering Anaheim)

This vacation I started a list early, determined not to forget anything major again like underwear or medications. I wasn’t even going to forget anything minor like glasses, socks, deodorant. In fact, I packed everything we could possibly need and even considered taking the toilet plunger which, as things turned out, we could have used. In other words, there wasn’t much left in the house when we left—well, except my husband of almost forty-five years, the father of our children, the grandfather of our thirteen grandchildren. We forgot him.

I’m still not clear on how this happened. We’d planned everything so carefully. Because there were so many of us, we’d decided that this trip Vaun and I would ride in separate cars so that we could help our children with their driving and refereeing. The plan was that I’d start off with my son and his family and Vaun would go with my oldest daughter and her kids.

My daughter-in-law needed to make a quick stop at a Provo rehab so she could deliver some flowers to her grandmother. That’s when, luckily, my daughter called. She’d just passed Provo and she wanted to know where we were going to meet. Also luckily, I asked to talk to Vaun.

“I don’t have Dad with me,” she said. “I thought you had him.”

“But you were going to pick him up.”

“Nobody told me that.”

“Ha ha,” I said. She kids me sometimes. Once, when we had an ad in, she disguised her voice and said she wanted to rent our two-bedroom apartment with five kids, a “small” pit bull and two “well-behaved” great Danes.

“No, Mom, I’m totally serious. I promise I don’t have Dad with me.”

It was one of those moments when you can’t locate your lungs. “So we left him? We left Dad? Oh my gosh!” I felt terrible. I pictured Vaun upset and hurt like that Macaulay what’s his name in HOME ALONE. I pictured him frantically trying to remember our smart phone numbers, or racing to our daughter’s and back again, trying to figure out where everyone was.

“I’ll try to call him,” said my daughter.

I tried as well and ten or fifteen minutes later we’d worked out that he would drive to the Spanish Fork Walmart where we’d meet him and then we’d leave the extra car at our daughter-in-law’s grandmother’s house.

“So are you upset?” I asked him when we connected.  “I guess I thought you’d worked it out with Nicki and you thought I had, and she apparently wasn’t in the loop. Are you going to be emotionally scarred for the remainder of your life because your family left without you?”

“Not really,” he said sheepishly. Then he explained that when our daughter hadn’t come by he’d just figured she was running late and he had laid down and “shut his eyes” for a few minutes. In other words, he’d pretty much slept through it all. And the fact is we live in an amazing electronic age with phones that operate anywhere. Consequently, it turned out okay. We all made it to California by ten-thirty that night—just an hour or so later than we’d planned.

Sigh. But then we misplaced our debit card; our hotel cancelled our reservations for some mysterious reason ; and oh, some of us got stomach flu. That’s life, right? But Disneyland was still Disneyland–the same crazy happy place.