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Friday, November 2, 2012

The Death of Halloween

"Welcome, festive celebrants!"

On Halloween, my wife and I went out to Denny’s.  Although night had not yet fallen, our waiter said that a few trick-or-treaters had stopped by.  We feasted in relative quiet; never did we share the restaurant with more than one or two other parties.  While we enjoyed our pancakes and chicken fried steak, we spoke of the events of our day, where our lives were headed, and discussed potential plans for the future.  When we paid the bill, the manager gave us Tootsie Rolls, and bid us a pleasant Halloween.

On the way home, we stopped by the grocery store to pick up a few needed items.  In the holiday area, the remnants of Halloween had been set upon a table.  In their former domain, Christmas candy now loaded the shelves.  Death, clad in his black hooded robe, pushed his shopping cart past us.  Tall, white-faced and gaunt, he toured the produce section with us, and then headed off toward the baked goods.  When we left the store, night had fallen, bringing with it the Autumn chill.  Still, we felt warmer as we headed for our car.

We drove the rest of the way home with extra care.  Costumed trick-or-treaters, some nearly adult in height, some holding their parents’ hands, and some riding in strollers, roamed the sidewalks and streets.  Lights and decorations blinked and glowed, filling the darkness with fiery color.  Witches, sports stars, and fantasy heroes and villains watched our passage. 

At home, I put the groceries away and my wife turned on the porch light.  While I worked on my computer, my wife sat in the rocking chair by the door.  When she heard the calls of the young, or their feet climbing the steps to our front porch, she leapt up and grabbed her bowl of candy.  As her visitors shouted their ritual greeting, she placed chocolates into their bags and plastic jack-o-lanterns, and complimented them on their festive attire.  Then, reluctantly, she returned to her chair, never sitting quite comfortably, as she awaited the next group of visitors. 

"No, please: don't place me back in my coffin!"

The next morning, we drove those same darkened streets.  When we stepped into the gym, the interior seemed so bare, so devoid of interest and charm.  As we checked in at the front desk, I noticed that all the cobwebs had been cleaned up, the spiders captured, and the skeletons returned to their cupboards.  Likewise, the paper cutouts of pumpkins, witches, and bats had departed.  In their absence, everything seemed clean, utilitarian, spartan.

After our workout, as we returned home along those same darkened streets, only a few lighted displays still glowed.  We drove past broken and smashed pumpkins hurled into the street by boisterous revelers.  Our eyes sought out the shapes of lawn decorations, knowing they would soon be gathered up and put away for next year.  Then we arrived home, to prepare ourselves for a new day.

"Everything comes to me in the end."

Farewell, Halloween.  I know you shall return all too soon, but right now, you seem so far away.

Dragon Dave

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