It doesn’t matter how old you – are or have to be – to love Halloween. Some people do and some don’t. I know when I used to go trick-or-treating as a child, I got twice the candy. It’s my birthday and after they dropped a treat inside my bag I told them so and they would drop another. I think back on how smart I was, even then. Tell that to my teeth today.
A few weeks ago my kid sister Nancy calls me. “Gail, mark this date on your calendar. “You got to come with us to this friend’s house”! They decorate their house for Halloween inside and I told her that you would love it”! I also told them that was your birthday so they invited you for dinner.” Okay, so now I am going to a dinner party with people I don’t really know and they are picking me up, to boot. Okay, I think to myself, “What can it hurt”? Bring my camera, I am told. A few family members will be there so it’s not like I don’t know anyone.
I make a loaf of bread, some chocolate chip cookies and I bring a bottle of wine. They are serving salad (my favorite) and stuffed shells. Did someone just say pasta? Hell ya, I’ll be there for sure.
I get picked up by a woman by the name of Mary, and she helps to decorate this house with her mate, Lynne. They have a small dog named Reese (just like the candy for Halloween). How appropriate, I think to myself.
I step inside and I am immediately transformed back to the days of my early childhood. It’s Halloween in three rooms. I mean, really Halloween. Some people decorate like this for Christmas. Your eyes go everywhere so you don’t miss a thing. I am introduced and then shown how everything comes to life. It was magical. Things are lit, witches are moving, skeletons are dancing and a cat is shaking his head. I am in awe looking around and I cannot believe how beautiful it is. I think to myself, “this is a lot of work, they must really love Halloween.” I am told they love Christmas, too. Wow and double wow.
We sit and we talk and I find out that Lynne’s brother worked where I had, and was my mechanic when he stayed over on second shift. Small world. They bring us out a shot of moonshine, and I take a small sip. Hell – this thing will last me the whole time I am here. I pop open the wine I brought and I start clicking away at what I was seeing with my camera. I ask many questions when I sip moonshine. How do you store all this? How long does this take to finish? Where do you find all this stuff? They store Halloween things in over 30 buckets. They decorate three or so rooms. Takes them a week to decorate with some Thanksgiving things out also, getting ready for Thanksgiving. They have been doing this for the last 10 years, and buy at yard sales or where ever the price is just right.
I don’t have to say much more. My pictures will show you the story.
So, I finally sit and enjoy a delicious salad with stuffed shells. Was very good. I sip more wine and I see something I had missed. Time to click away again. My friend Helen used to always say that an adventure is right around the corner. You just have to look for it. Tonight was an adventure. Looking around at every corner, on the floor or ceiling, to make sure I didn’t miss a thing. I had a great time with family and I made some new friends. I needed this adventure today. You see, my best friend, Helen, my maid-of-honor, is dying from the same brain cancer that took my husband. I am sentimental tonight as I write this. I needed some laughter in my life. I am told she may go in a few days. I already know this. Tomorrow is Halloween, my birthday. To me the best gift ever for me will be that Helen goes to see my babe on a “special” day. All souls, all saints day close to Halloween … what an honor, that she suffers no more. I thank the new friends I made tonight. You had no idea what you did for me and my spirit. You and your moonshine and your love for Halloween gave me a big lift to show that life still goes on . and for a moment I could be that child again singing, “Trick-or-treat, smell my feet, give me something good to eat!”
Thank-you for having a warm heart and inviting me into your home. Thank-you for that shot of moonshine. Thank-you for your love of Halloween.
Thank-You for opening that last door. Thanksgiving is coming. We need to get you some pilgrims too … Incredible, just incredible!
Gail Durant is the fourth-oldest from a family of 13 children. She has lived in Manchester her whole life with the exception of one year in Hillsboro. She worked for 41 years in shoe shops, laundry and manufacturing and fully retired five years ago. She lost her husband Bob almost three years ago to brain cancer, and is currently writing a book about their love story, Bob’s diagnosis, and the signs she receives from him, to this day. Proceeds from the book will go to charities to help children in some way and also for brain cancer research. She resides in Manchester with her dog, Miss Spirit (short for Christmas Spirit) and has a daughter she adopted a few years ago, who came into her life at age 7 and is now 40. She has enjoyed photography most of her life, and loves taking random shots, and spinning the thoughts she has into stories, with pictures. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.