Monday, November 03, 2008

A Halloween Review and a Little Election Preview

A Holiday for the Masses ... Last Friday night, a pair of bicycles sat propped up against a stop sign in our neighborhood. A block or two away, their owners -- two Mormons in standard bicycle-riding attire -- walked up, then down, each side of the street, knocking on doors and sharing their tracts. Whether they won any converts or engaged themselves in any noteworthy conversation on Halloween night, nobody knows for sure. But one thing is certain: They earned some fairly large fistfuls of Smarties and Junior Mints and were seen walking the neighborhood, smiling widely and chomping on a pretty sizable stash of goods. Multi-tasking should never take a holiday. Way. To. Go.

Watching this unfold whisked us back more than seven years to an October afternoon at an amusement park, which was hosting a park-wide Halloween event. Employees were dressed in costumes, and guests were given large plastic themed bags and encouraged to trick-or-treat throughout the park. Walk up to a ride attendant, get a few Tootsie Rolls. Open your bag and say "trick or treat" to a security guard, score a Reese's. On and on. When our then-3-year-old saw a fair-skinned woman wearing a burqa and Ray-Bans and sitting on a park bench, she ran from my side, stood in front of the woman and shouted, "Trick or treat!" It all happened so FAST -- we couldn't stop it. Besides, it was hardly the 3-year-old's fault. If you were 3 and saw a woman wearing a burqa and shouting, "Hey, cut it out!" in an Appalachian dialect to her freckle-faced kids (all were in costume, by the way) in the middle of an amusement park on a warm October day in central Alabama, what would you do? Thought so.

Yet she was ever so gracious, leaned toward our daughter and said, "Oh, honey, this ain't no costume. I'm sorry." Then she looked toward us, laughed out loud and shouted, "Hey, y'all have a happy Halloween!"

After All, This Is a Free Country ... Celebrate our nation's freedom and your right to vote by taking advantage of free stuff tomorrow. After you stand in line for virtually HOURS to cast your vote, swing by Starbucks for a free cup of coffee. Bring proof, if you have it. A sticker will work fine. Starbucks also claims that it will work on the honor system, in case you don't have proof. Later in the day, head on over to Ben & Jerry's between 5 and 8 p.m. for a free scoop.

Let freedom ring.