Friday, October 29, 2010
I remember running home as fast as my legs could carry me, from Saint Adrian's Catholic Grammar School. The cold October winds produced cascades of colorfull leaves. They looked like they were spinning in a huge, high-speed blender. My feet crushed the leaves on every strike. I listened to them crunch, and watched my frozen breath as I ran. It was Halloween! Mom was waiting for me in the kitchen, as I bounded up the stairs. "Slow down young man", she said. "You have plenty of time. Have some milk and cookies." "No mom", I said! "I need you to help me put on my Hobo outfit! I don't want to miss out on any of the candy!" I remember her smile, as she burnt the cork. The cork was used to dirty my face. She used a little rouge to make my cheeks pink, and pinned one of my dad's old Homburg hats, so it would fit my head. She had old trousers for me, with patches on the knees and an old short broomstick with a couple of bandanas sewn together, to make a hobo's small kitball of worldly belongings. She made me wear tons of insulated underwear under my flannel shirt and trousers. She made me wear mittens on my hands. She smiled at me and said, "Now you be safe! Don't ring the doorbells of any houses that don't have their lights on! Make sure your friends are with you! I don't want you being alone! I want you to be home by eight o'clock, or I will tell your father you disobeyed me, when he gets home from tending bar tonight!" I was "flying" down the front stairs before the last sentence came out of her mouth. She always made sure that I had a reinforced shopping bag. My mom was the greatest. I swore to myself that I would fill it to the brim with candy, before I came home. I met up with Mike Noonan, and Al Faustino, and a couple of my other friends. We lived on the south side of Chicago, and were happy that the houses in our neighborhood were so close together. We ran up and down the front porch stairs for three-or-four hours until we were so exhausted, we couldn't carry our candy anymore. I always brought home a great bounty. I loved the Hershey bars, Snickers, Milk Duds, Baby Ruths, Fire Sticks, and All Day Suckers. My mom always went through the candy to see what I could keep. She told me that there were some bad people out there, who put needles in some of the candy or fruit. I didn't believe her, but let her throw the junky stuff out anyway! I had enough stuff to last me at least a month, as long as I could hide it from my older brother and sister! Being 8 or 9 years old on Halloween sure was fun! Today, I love getting dressed up in Biker garb, with menacing sunglasses, my goatee and shaved head. I wear a leather vest and jeans, with a big skull belt buckle. I also have a set of handcuffs hanging from my vest. I love handing out candy to the children who come to my door. My wife says I look like I'm dressed for Halloween, 365 days a year! I don't care. She knows that I love her and the kids. I always buy the Snickers and Hershey bars to give away. I buy a lot of it! I throw a handful into each little goblin's bag. When they smile real large, and look up to me and say, "thank you mister", it brings Halloween joy to me once again! I am smiling when I close the door. I think how soundly the little ones will sleep this night, after they are through. I hug my wife and enjoy our little decorations. I swear, I never want to grow up.