Posted tagged ‘ghosts’

“Marshmallow Fluff is the greatest thing ever invented”

September 17, 2017

I apologize for yesterday, and I thank you for worrying as I know I usually let you know. I slept later than I intended and had time for getting dressed, a quick cup of coffee, feeding the animals and taking Gracie out. It was International Festival Day at the local college, and I was at the Peace Corps table all day. Luckily I had packed what I wanted to use to decorate the table so I just grabbed the stuff and left. When I got home, I napped.

A couple of people who stopped at the PC table were surprised to find Peace Corps still existed. I guess we don’t do a great job advocating for ourselves. One man stopped and asked me if I knew who he was. I did, just by his question. Twice before I had met him, asked his name and country of service. Each time he answered a bit testily that he was with me in Ghana. I still didn’t recognize him this time either but said, “Gary?” and he smiled. I had guessed right.

It is a bright, beautiful day now, but it started out foggy, a fog which hovered around the lower limbs of the trees and atop the roads, covered the bridge and hung just above the ocean. When I was a kid, that was the scariest fog. It hid the sidewalks. Noises were amplified and footsteps echoed. We’d run if we heard someone behind us. We never knew who or, even worse, what was behind us. It could have been the man with the hook or some mass murderer looking for another victim so we ran as fast as we could. It never occurred to us the footsteps might be from something benign. In the fog it could only have been something scary and evil.

The paper today had a page devoted to Marshmallow Fluff which is celebrating its 100th anniversary. About 7 million pounds of Fluff is sold each year which is mind boggling given how light Fluff is. Fluff has only 4 ingredients: corn syrup, sugar, dried egg white and vanilla. When I was growing up, we always had Fluff in the cabinet because a fluffernutter was a quick snack: thin on the peanut butter, thick on the Fluff. The only problem was being careful not to tear the soft bread when slathering the Fluff. 50% of all Fluff is sold in New England and Upstate New York. I still keep Fluff in the cabinet. I never know when I might just want a quick snack.

“Shadows of a thousand years rise again unseen, Voices whisper in the trees, ‘Tonight is Halloween!'”

October 31, 2016

I never understood why the nuns expected us to work and pay attention to lessons on Halloween. We were on a silent countdown to the trick or treat hour when our mothers would let us out so subtraction or English just didn’t matter. The challenge all day was to look interested without caring a whit.

We had chosen our costumes weeks ago. On the walks to and from school, my friends and I discussed the possibilities. The costumes would be homemade, and in those days they weren’t too sophisticated. We thought about being ghosts, but that was just too easy. A hobo was okay. We’d use make-up for a beard and carry a stick with a bucket at the end for our candy. Our mothers could sew patches on the pants and shirts. A scarecrow mostly just needed make-up and straw. With a few curlers and a robe, we could be our mothers or grandmothers. Paint a couple of pieces of cardboard, wear one in front and the other on the back, and you’re an ace or a two. Costumes just took imagination.

My mother would buy us masks, if we needed them, and trick or treat bags. Sometimes, though, we’d use pillow cases as bags hoping for a big haul. Halloween day was almost as long as Christmas Eve. We’d get dressed early and beg my mother to let us out. We’d keep watch hoping to see a trick or treater as proof it was time. Finally, my mother would let us out. We’d do the neighborhood first. It took a while as the neighbors oohed and ahhed and guessed who we were, as if it were difficult. After that, my brother and I would do the town. The 5 cent bar houses were our first stops. We hated the apple houses except the ones which put pennies or a nickle in their apples. I was never fond of candy corn or popcorn balls. We’d wander the town until the outside lights went dark. On the way home we’d go through our bags and eat a favorite candy bar or two. When we got home, my mother would give us each a big bowl for our candy. We’d sit on the floor and trade.

We could stay up late because the next day was a Holy Day, and we didn’t have school. We did have to go to church, but it was worth it to have the whole day.

“Look! It’s moving. It’s alive. It’s alive… It’s alive, it’s moving, it’s alive, it’s alive, it’s alive, it’s alive, IT’S ALIVE!”

October 2, 2014

The rain started Tuesday and continued throughout Wednesday until well into the night. The dog’s outside water bowl was filled with rainwater. We’re talking inches of rain here. The ground is still soaked. With the rain came cooler temperatures. It is only 57˚ and with the dampness it feels even colder. The wind has picked up and the trees are being blown. More rain is predicted for later.

I’d vote for October as my favorite month. The weather is lovely, fall flowers are in bloom, pumpkins adorn front steps and fill wagons at farm stands, leaves are in such an array of colors even the most boring road is ablaze in yellows and reds and the best of all is that October finishes on its very last day with Halloween. Christmas has Santa and elves and flying reindeer, but I love even more the witches and ghosts and monsters of Halloween. There are no scary Santa movies except maybe Santa Claus Conquers the Martians which is frightfully bad. Nope, hands down, Halloween has the best scary movies. I love them all especially the classics. I’m not talking blood and gore movies. I want to be scared by subtlety. We never see Dracula bite into Mina’s neck. He uses his cloak to hide it, but we know what’s going on. Our imaginations fill in the void. One of my all time favorite movie scenes is in Frankenstein. It is when the villagers hunt the monster. They are sent off to, “…search every ravine, every crevice. The fiend must be found.” The black and white of the movie enhances the scary scene. Wide-eyed women huddle and hide. The dogs who lead the pack of crazed villagers are barking and pulling at their leashes. The men wend their way down a hill their torches bright in the darkness. Their garbled shouts echo in the night. We sense their fear. It touches us and scares us. That’s the best part of Halloween.