Posted tagged ‘the hook’

“The farther we’ve gotten from the magic and mystery of our past, the more we’ve come to need Halloween.”

October 22, 2017

My back is pure misery. I grab things so I can move from room to room. I keep wishing for a Star Trek doctor with his medical tricorder to knock at the door and with one button take the pain away. I guess I’ll just have to keep wishing.

We are again blessed with a warm, sunny day. The house is even cooler than outside. The blue sky is striking. I figure I’ll make my way to the deck in a bit to enjoy the day.

When I was a kid, we always carved pumpkins. I loved to pull out what we always called the pumpkin guts. Every year the pumpkins looked the same when we were done. They had triangle eyes and a triangle nose and a wide grin with a few teeth up and down. The pumpkins went on the front steps. We’d put in real candles and light them. The wind was always blowing them out, but we’d keep lighting them. There is something magical about lit pumpkins grinning in the darkness.

We loved being afraid, not actually afraid but afraid of scary stories we knew weren’t real. My dad told great stories. We all know the hook. I swear it is a universal story. Small parts of it change, but the hook is always on the car door.

I remember walking on the sidewalks and seeing my shadow. It looked tall and eerie this time of year. Add the sound of my footsteps, and I’d keep an eye out to make sure I wasn’t being followed. I never was, but my imagination worked overtime. Ghosts flew.

I still love the old black and white horror movies. They were always on this time of year. When Dracula hid his face with his cape, we knew, without seeing it, that he was about to bite some poor victim. Renfield was one of my favorite characters. He’d do his master’s bidding and eat flies to keep up his strength. Bela Lugosi had the best voice. Frankenstein wasn’t as scary as Dracula. The doctor’s creation never really had a chance. One of my favorite scenes is when the villagers carrying torches and pitchforks follow their dogs to where the monster is. I always felt bad for Larry Talbot who turns into the Wolfman. His fate was decided by Bela, the Gypsy. I still love these movies. Lots of blood and slashers do nothing for me.

I am resting my back today, not that I need an excuse to be a sloth.

“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.

“Petting, scratching, and cuddling a dog could be as soothing to the mind and heart as deep meditation and almost as good for the soul as prayer.”

May 7, 2015

We have had such beautiful days, warm days, short-sleeve shirt days. The sun is even so bright it makes me squint. By the afternoon the sun has made its way around the house to the back so I go and sit on the deck to take in the warmth. Gracie stands beside my chair and watches the birds until she gets sleepy and lies down for a nap in the sun.

Yesterday I was sitting at a red light when I noticed a hawk high above me riding the thermals in ever smaller circles. I got lost in the hawk, and it took a honk from the driver behind me to bring me back to the now green light.

I have seen foxes, rabbits, coyotes, wild turkeys, deer, skunks, opossums and the common raccoon around here where I live. Actually it was only one deer which ran across the road in front of my car just down the street from my house. I pulled over to watch until it disappeared near the power lines.

I don’t remember seeing many animals when I was a kid even though we spent a lot of time roaming the woods. I remember snakes the most. They seemed to be everywhere. They were, for the most part, garter snakes. We’d pick them up just to check them out, but we never hurt them and we always let them go. They’d slither so fast when freed they seemed to disappear. I can’t remember the last time I saw a snake around here.

I liked scary when I was a kid. I don’t mean afraid. I never wanted to be afraid. Scary was mostly a product of my imagination when I heard footsteps behind me or that hook scratching the screen. Scary made me giggle a little, a sort of defensive reaction to prove I wasn’t really scared. Once, when I was an adult, my dog Maggie, another boxer, woke me from a sound sleep when she leapt out of bed, stood at the top of the stairs and barked her fiercest bark several times but then she just turned around, jumped back on the bed and went to sleep. I wasn’t as fortunate as it took me a while to calm down enough to go back to sleep. I wasn’t sure what to think about Maggie’s barking. Maybe she had a nightmare was one thought, but I didn’t really think so because she usually just sort of barked in her sleep when she was dreaming. I really believed she heard something, something loud enough to put her on alert. Whatever it was left because of Maggie’s deep, fierce barking. She was my protector, and I was really glad to have her. Gracie has that role now, and she is great at her job.

“Spiders so large they appear to be wearing the pelts of small mammals.”

May 15, 2014

The day is warm. The sun pops in and out. It is an open the windows and let the fresh air in sort of day. I have an errand or two to do later. I still walk oddly because of the aches and pains left over from the fall, but I have to go out. I figure the cats will want to be fed later as they just got their last can. What’s with these animals wanting to eat every day?

Gracie eats the best food. The list of ingredients starts with meat then goes on to the fruits and vegetables. I swear if I heated the turducken and served it over toast people would enjoy it, but it was different when I was a kid. Duke, my boxer, ate two cans of dog food a day, of horse meat. Feeding him was gross as the food didn’t smell good and the last thing I was for it to touch me. It also gave him room clearing gas. Most were of the silent but deadly form. It was always best to sit up wind from Duke.

Some of my friends squealed at spiders. I always thought that was silly. Spiders had no interest in us. They were hoping for flies or other stray insects though I do sometimes think of The Fly caught in the web and yelling, “Help me. Help me,” as the spider slowly walked toward him. I did figure, though, that was an anomaly. Some noises in the night scared me like people walking or the window getting scratched, but I wore a brave front and always asked, “Is anyone there?” Now that is silly. What homicidal maniac is going to answer, “I am, and I’m here to dismember you.” I had this idea that if I sounded brave I’d scare away the man with hook or the hatchet. As I never saw one, I must have been successful.

I used to walk home at night from being with my friends. No one walked in my direction. The rest walked together the other way. Once a police car stopped and offered me a ride home. He knew me which is why he stopped. I took the ride. When he got to my street, he turned on all the lights and let me out. I figured the neighbors were watching from all their windows wondering what was going on. I waved and went inside the house. I was never afraid walking home alone. The biggest news in the police blotter of the local paper was woman hears sounds in her yard, kids making noise, and cars leaving rubber and speeding. My town was not a hot bed of crime.

“When you can’t figure out what to do, it’s time for a nap.”

March 7, 2013

The wind is howling and twisting and turning the pine branches which seem to bend enough to touch the ground. The rain began falling last night, and when I woke up, I could hear it on the roof and windows. As I’m writing, wet snow, slanted by the wind from the north, is beginning to fall, but it hasn’t the look of permanence. The rain will be back, and the wind will howl all day into tomorrow.

The wind is the sort which is the backbone of every tale told by the fire, tales of creatures who roam the night, their sounds muted by the wind. Branches against the windows become scratches made by disfigured hands or even hooks. I remember those stories my father told us. We knew they weren’t real or at least pretended to know, but fear is more easily muted in a warm house with lots of lights and closed doors and my father to protect us.

We did a couple of errands yesterday and today we’ll stay home. It is a day not fit for man nor beast. I had to push Gracie out the door this morning, and the trauma has kept her napping on the couch for hours. Maddie and Fern, neither of whom had any trauma, are also napping. I imagine theirs are gestures of solidarity.

Today is laundry day maybe. I did bring it down from upstairs, but that doesn’t mean anything. The laundry bag can sit against the cellar door for a day or two without me caring. The old me, the before I retired me, would already have had the laundry washed, dried, folded and ready for upstairs. The retired me just dropped it by the door.

The day is ugly. I have no ambition, but I don’t really need any. I have a new book that seems to want my attention. I didn’t make my bed on purpose, not out of laziness but rather because the thought that today, a dark, dismal, rainy day is perfect for a nap in a cozy, warm bed.

“And I love a scary movie. It makes your toes curl and it’s not you going through it.”

May 5, 2012

Today is no different from yesterday or the day before or the day before that one. My deck still has its winter look. None of the furniture is uncovered, and the candles are yet to be hung from the trees. This cold and damp weather doesn’t invite the deck’s summer finery. I go out and fill the feeders then hurry back in cold from the dampness. It rained again last night, and I have a parade of paw prints across my kitchen floor. I’ll throw in a Pollyanna moment here and say there is an upside. My lawn looks green and lush.

Gracie and I are dump bound today, and I decided I might as well ruin the entire day by going grocery shopping.

If we count activity as productivity, this was a lazy week. Every chance I got, I read and yesterday I finished the Lincoln Vampire book. It was an odd one, and I’d be careful about to whom I’d recommend it. The list of people would be quite short. A suspension of disbelief  is entirely necessary.

I think we are all born with a suspension of disbelief then, as we get older, we stop believing in wonders and get skeptical and scoff. Away goes Santa, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy. Nothing replaces them. Our world becomes less filled with anticipation and a holiday is just a holiday. A once scary movie is made fun of and did you notice the Creature from the Black Lagoon wears a scuba tank? I didn’t. I love those old movies, and I always fail to notice their blemishes. I count myself lucky for that.

I admit being skeptical about many things. I don’t believe in ghosts, never did even when I was little. Things that went bump in the night gave me pause, but ghosts were never my first guess. I thought the Hook was more likely the reason for the noise. That story scared me to the roots of my being. The idea of his hook hanging from the car door seemed awful close to reality.

I love the books of Stephen King and Dean Koontz. A strange sound still gives me pause. That suspension of disbelief has never left me, and I am extremely grateful.