Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloweens past linger on in Curmudgeon's basement

Does that title sound like it might be the set-up for a ghost story? Or, worse, some horror story about kids found with eggs on their persons whilst on the old, scary guy's premises, intent on holiday mischief, but who wound up chained in the basement of the old, scary guy's house until first the eggs and then the persons rotted away?

If so, I'm sorry to disappoint you. Although, I must add, if she thought she could have gotten away with it, Long Suffering Spouse would have been sorely tempted a few years back to chain certain miscreants in a deep, dark, dank dungeon: Because we live in the neighborhood where my wife teaches, and because we had a flock of kids ourselves, the location of our home was too well known. For several consecutive years our house was egged annually on or around All Hallows Eve. Thankfully, we have been spared these attacks in the last few years.

By my mind is cast back further, this morning, to a happier time, when our kids were little enough to go trick-or-treating.

Long Suffering Spouse found a pattern for dinosaur costumes one Halloween and made two, one for Older Daughter and the other for Oldest Son. These were used for many years, by each child in turn. Later, store-bought costumes were preferred. Some of these did not last the holiday for which they were purchased. But Long Suffering Spouse found Star Trek Next Generation uniforms somewhere which were durable. At various stops along the line we picked up Civil War forage hats or kepis. Long Suffering Spouse made a general's uniform for Oldest Son for some school function; she even sewed on replica shoulder insignia. U.S. Grant was, thereafter, a frequent Halloween visitor. And there were cowboy hats that my parents picked up on trips. Somehow we acquired a pretty good vampire cape. The Conquistador helmet was only thin plastic, but it looked surprisingly good and lasted a lot longer than we thought it would.

All of these treasures, and several more besides, wound up in a toy box in our basement. Back in the day, the kids did not wait until Halloween to explore its contents. When Middle Son's Webelo (Cub Scout) den met at our house, the boys would often plunder the contents of the box. When they'd start dueling too vigorously with the (plastic) Star Wars light sabres, Long Suffering Spouse or I would have to intervene.

Yesterday, Long Suffering Spouse was looking for the large bowl we use for trick-or-treaters. She was looking in the closet in the basement and I told her she was looking in the wrong place. The bowl, I was sure, was on the other side of the basement, on a shelf between the furnace and the fuse box. But why should Long Suffering Spouse listen to me? I was the guy who, earlier in the morning, couldn't find the hot dogs in the freezer when she told me exactly where to look.

So she didn't find the bowl (believe it or not -- and you have to because this is my blog -- it was right where I said it was). But she did find the toy box. And the costumes, and the memories, are still there.

The spam storm continues unabated here at Second Effort. The Blogger detection system is working a little better and the comment moderation on older posts helps enormously. I like to think of this as a good thing -- if I can command the attention of spammers, perhaps I may yet command the attention of actual readers. Time will tell. Meanwhile, don't let moderation deter you from leaving a real comment on any post you want.

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