Today is Halloween. If I was a kid, that would mean that I would be bouncing my leg and looking at the clock and sighing and fidgeting and whining that time moved so slow. Then I'd run home from school, skipping with excitement.
The five of us - my friends Denise and Lisa, Carol and Linda, and me - we'd gather in front of my grandma & grandpa's house and we'd ready our pillowcases. The planning would begin. We'd look up and down the street.
"The 600 block sucked. Remember? The white house gave raisins. The tan house gave apples."
"Yeah, and we got bubblegum and Dum Dum suckers from that block, too."
"Okay, so we'll skip that block and hit it last if we have time."
We'd huddle and draw up the map in our minds - five little girls planning a strike that would impress an Army general. All of us undercover, a gypsy, a ballerina, a princess, a butterfly, and an angel. No one would suspect that we were on such a planned mission - commandos dressed liked princesses.
None of us would even mention the first two stops but we'd know where they were. We'd turn as a group and head to Max' house. Max lived three houses down from my grandparents. He and his wife were always fond of us girls. It was a good thing because we liked to go collect the chestnuts from his chestnut tree in the Fall. And we liked to run in his big side yard. And, we liked to pretend that his pretty brick house was ours so we'd sit in his front yard and have picnics. He and Miriam never chased us away like some older people do. They seemed to delight in the fact that we visited. And, they were always waiting for the five of us to show up on Halloween.
Max would open the door and made a huge fuss over us just like he did every year. Then Miriam would arrive with THE TRAY. Our eyes would grow wide because even though we knew that Max was going to treat us all like princesses, we'd still be surprised. Max and Miriam would first give us each a homemade popcorn ball and a homemade caramel apple. Then we would have our choice of a full-size Hostess cake (I always took the Suzy-Q) and then a full-size candy bar (I always took the Milky-Way)! Can you even imagine all that?! We'd thank Max and Miriam and leave the porch squealing like we'd just robbed the candy store. We'd run home and drop the booty off so it didn't get crushed beneath the rest of the night's haul, meet in front of my grandparent's house again, and then set out for the second house.
The second house would be a house that was never discussed either. We just knew it was where we were going. It was the corner house on the next block. We would have a two-fold mission, we were to collect our booty and to deliver an envelope from our parents. The lady who lived in the house was an old lady. A really old lady. Every year we wondered if she'd be there the next year.
We'd all smile when the old lady opened the door. She'd smile too. She'd drop the nickels into our empty pillowcases. We would be thrilled with the nickels - we would go to Rusty's, the corner store - the next day and buy some penny candy. I don't know why we needed to buy penny candy. We'd have a whole sack full of candy before the night was over but at that minute as the nickel tumbled into the cotton sack, all any of would think about was going to Rusty's to get fistful of candy...because Ray would always give us more than a penny's worth.
We'd thank the old lady and I'd hand her the envelope. It was only later that I learned that our parents would give her money every year. Halloween was a treat for her as well! I'm glad to know that.
Off we'd go on the rest of our mission. At the end of the night, we'd return with our pillowcases full of candy and our hearts full of incredible memories of a mission completed in a way that only friends could. Talk about shock and awe! It was sugar-shock and AWESOME!
The true treat of all those Halloweens is the memory of the costumes made by Mom & Dad, the time spent roaming the neighborhood with Denise, Lisa, Carol, and Linda, the kindness of Max and Miriam and the old lady whose name I never knew, and the laughter. Lots and lots of laughter.
(btw Dad, I finally figured out that the candy you sorted out that I "didn't" like when I was little was the candy that you did like...but that's okay, you earned it!)