Monday, November 3, 2008

Letter to Marcie-Halloween

It's another little gift you gave me. In 1993, I had not celebrated Halloween for 10 years. I just didn't see the sense in it. But you prevailed upon me to take another look at the holiday.

"So I was thinking we shoul do something for Halloween," you said.

'Hmm... dinner, dancing and gymnastics?' I thought. 'Maybe in costume for the last two? Helllloooooo nurse!'

"Well, what do you have in mind, Miss Stoddard?" I asked, trying to be suave.

"Let's go to Ralph's and get pumpkins to carve!" you blurted out. "We'll have some dinner and then we'll hand out candy. It'll be great. We get a few kids and all of my crazy neighbors come every year for candy. It'll be so fun!"

I guess the silence on the other end of the line tipped my hand. I was a bit taken aback, certainly. "I don't really do that on Halloween, usually," I said.

"Well, what do you do?" you asked, the edge of pre-annoyance (my name for that 'why didn't you just agree with me like you are supposed to' tone you had) definitely there.

"Well, usually I just hang out with friends and maybe go dancing or drinking or hit the beach for a bonfire," I offered. The truth was, I just used it as an excuse to party. I hadn't worn a costume in a decade.

"Well, I love Halloween and I would really like it if you would come over and carve a pumpkin with me, but I understand if you want to go out and get drunk with your friends," you said, matter-of-factly. "Some people need to do that."

Oh, it did sting, but it was effective. "No, that does sound fun," I said. "I'll tell you in class tomorrow. Maybe we can go to a party after trick or treaters stop coming by?"

"I work the next day," you said flatly. "Listen, I've gotta go, but I'll see you tomorrow. You know, you really don't have to if you don't want to. I understand and I won't be mad if you want to do your own thing."

It stung for sure. You would have been hurt, I could tell.

"You know what, let's get pumpkins tomorrow," I said. "Even if I don't hand out candy, we can have some fun and hang out making a mess."

"OKAY! OKay, we'll take the 7 after class," you said. "Oh, I am so excited! I can't wait to see what you carve."

And the die was cast. I read three articles on pumpkin carving that night and decided I had to make this a good Halloween. We carved them that night and yours was a wonderful one-tooth with a pointy grin and evil eyes.

I somewhat missed the mark. I made the theater faces in pumpkin but they lacked menace. "They look very nice," you said. "But they are not very Halloween, are they."

I guess vindication came in the form of your gay neighbors' exclamation. "Oh, my god, I want to take these home. These are the coolest. Can I have them?"

You shrugged and pointed at me, saying "Ask him, he made them."

Two days later I had a fittingly menacing and imperfect pumpkin to put next to yours as the stream of patrons began. I remember your black hat and gown, and the huge witch nose from CVS.

You were otherwise so cute... but that green nose...

It was my first Halloween in ten years. Last year, just two days after you left us, I handed out candy to the neighborhood kids. You were so happy at the anumber of them we got at our little house.

I knew you were there with me, and even if I had a very hard time doing it, I learned from you well, and I took a guess at each child's costume. This year, tyhe hulk, Darth Vader and devils were prominent.

Thank you for helping me understand the joy of the whole thing. This was a special holiday for you since you learned about it. For me, it was a special holiday for us because we got to be kids together, and simply play.

It was a sweet time of year for us, Marcie.

Of course, I noticed the perennial favorite... all the little witches in their regalia. There were plenty of those, but I could have used one more.