Sunday, October 31, 2010


Early October with moving vans on the block. Renters across the street in the official "domestic violence house" who can afford a moving van! Tibetan prayer flags decorated the porch the first day they arrived.

Three days later, pumpkin lights went up in the front window, and three pumpkins of various sizes dotted the steps leading to the front door. My new neighbor threw down the gauntlet. Can she out-decorate me for Halloween? In early October, absolutely swamped with field work, my porch was littered with black oak leaves, acorns, houseplants, and a grapevine wreath with sunflowers and a red checkered ribbon at the bottom. She already had her pumpkin lights up.

Out came my pumpkin lights, orange lights, fall wreath-making materials, three pumpkins (two for carving, one for Thanksgiving).

She carved her pumpkin two days before I even thought about my pumpkin. Her pumpkin has a very nice smile and big, bright eyes. She probably even invested in spooky music to lure in trick-or-treaters.

As night fell on Halloween on my block, the Tibetan prayer flag girl blew out the candle on her jack o'lantern, turned off her porch light (the official Missouri sign that the house is not participating in candy giving), and unplugged her pumpkin lights. Across the way, my house looked like the Griswolds', only for a different holiday.

One trick or treater came by early tonight. I was working, and didn't see the costume or even have a chance to thank her for recognizing the welcome mat that we've laid out for three years. She took one of 6 full size Hershey bars and left.

Moments ago, two teenaged gentlemen rapped on the door. No costume, no "trick or treat," no "hi, neighbor!" but a pitiful sandwich bag held open to hold candy. I gave them each a Reese's and sent them on their way. Hazel stopped by, dressed like a baby, and her mom, the fine neighbor who allowed me to garden in her full sun, stopped by wearing a wig. By that time, Hazel's designated Heath bar had already been consumed. Actually, so has almost all of the Reese's and Hershey bars, with only one of each left on the dragonfly tray. It may be time to douse the light.

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