2020: All Tricks. No Treats.

We are on day 225 of 15 days to slow the spread.

According to the The National Day Calendar, today is National Cat Day.

I have never met a cat who wouldn’t tell you that every day is National Cat Day.

Prove me wrong.

It’s Thursday, and Halloween is coming this weekend. In fact Saturday includes Halloween, a full moon, and the changing of the clocks.

In other words, every day of 2020.

As of this writing, there is no Halloween candy in this house.

We’re not trying to be Scrooges because that would be a different holiday. But we plan to turn off the lights and not give out candy this year. For one thing, I will be working the final night at Blood Lake Haunted Trail. For another, two oversized canine poopers make the ringing of the doorbell a national security event.

I have to admit that we are not above taking advantage of the post spooking candy sales.

Halloween was a big deal when I was a kid. We’d talk our parents into buying us the flame-retardant costumes with the masks we couldn’t see or breathe through.

I don’t have a solid memory of any one Halloween. Well, that’s not true, I’ll get to that in a minute.

But there are various memories of the year that I was a Pirate. Then there was the year that for some reason we had gone to my uncle’s store and I fell on the sidewalk spilling all of my candy. I’m sure that I recovered more than I needed.

The last Halloween of my childhood, that is when I was still at an age where it was officially acceptable to

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Trick or Treat, I had the best costume ever. I found a skeleton mask that I loved. My mother took the time to sew together some white sheets into an amazing, flowing costume, complete with white gloves.

But I never got to wear it. I spent the evening in the ER with stomach cramps initially believed to be appendicitis. It was not. But by the time we got home it was too late to Trick or Treat.

I’m almost over it.

These days kids are more likely to go to Fall Festivals held at churches or Trunk or Treats where it’s safer than going door to door.

Some churches want nothing to do with the spookiness of Halloween and I totally get that.

Although once the wife and I were attending a church where the children were told they could wear costumes that were Biblical or Disney characters.

We decided we wanted to go as Cruella de Ville and the Witch of Endor.

Stick to your convictions. But think them through.

COVID has ruined a lot in 2020. We’re all missing things, and people, and events.

My schedule should be wrapping up Haunt at Kings Dominion and getting ready for Winterfest rehearsals.

Not this year.

But I applaud the creativity of those who modify events, or do something entirely different.

We are nothing if not adaptable.

Even if we don’t like it.

NARRATOR: He doesn’t like it.

Some 47 years into our house arrest this feels more normal. But I don’t want it to be normal.

I want to be a kid again, extorting candy from the neighbors.

If 2020 has taught us anything it’s that we’re not getting what we want this year.

Maybe that’s not such a bad thing.

Because of work schedules, and really because you people have to shop on Thanksgiving Day, we’re amending our family plans and will likely have our Thanksgiving meal on Wednesday. And that’s okay.

We’ll also be putting out fewer Christmas decorations than usual. Since that’s primarily my job, that is also okay.

Maybe, just maybe, having to do things differently will cause us to reflect on why we’re really celebrating in the first place.

That doesn’t sound like such a bad thing.

Especially when you consider the candy sales.

Photo by ?ukasz Nie?cioruk on Unsplash

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A Mountain Memory

Natural Bridge, Kentucky

We are on day 219 of 15 days to slow the spread.

For reasons that are my own and that I may or may not write about one day, I’ve been a little nostalgic this week.

This is sort of one days.

The day was Saturday, October 23, 1976. For some reason, that date has always stuck in my mind.

I was a freshman at Asbury College (now University) in Kentucky.

As a community building event much of our class gathered on buses and traveled a few hours to Natural Bridge State Park…no…not the Virginia version…that has other memories and other stories.

Several dozen of us spent the day in the Kentucky mountains amidst the fall foliage. As a friend and I climbed the mountain, we heard singing. Several of our classmates had already made it to the top and had begun an impromptu time of worship.

It was one of those picturesque scenes that you might find in a movie when the protagonist is having a pensive, life changing moment.

Unfortunately it was years before our school would have a film program and cell phones were non-existent.

Still, I think some lives were changed that day. Friendships were formed. My roommate met his future wife.

During our 47 years of house arrest memories like that or certain songs can be like a warm hug.

Face it, that’s the only type of hug most of us are getting these days.

I could rattle off a list of things that are stressful in my life right about now.

But, so could you.

Instead, I’ll dwell on this memory a little while longer. Maybe tomorrow I’ll find another one.

Although this one still has a good supply of warm fuzzies.

My son asked me last night if I remember a time before we all had to wear masks.

Of course he was joking, mostly, but I have to admit it’s hard to remember a time before this pandemic.

That day on the mountain, we weren’t worrying about a pandemic. We were the generation that came of age during Watergate and the end of the Vietnam War. We had other things to worry about.

Like an upcoming election.

Some things never change.

I’ve changed a lot since that day in the mountains of Kentucky. I’d like to think some of that day stayed with me and I changed for the better.

Maybe I need some time in the mountains to think about it.

What I’m reading…