Saturday, October 31, 2015

Out of the mouths of...Trick or Treaters

Halloween 2015

And I thought I had a big cat

My doorbell was rung this Halloween evening by a grand procession of little ghouls, goblins, super-heroes…and a princess or two.

But the ones I think I’ll remember the longest were the unlikely pairing of Spiderman and a pretty little princess.

I had just told Spiderman how scary he looked, as I dropped some treats in his bag and was about to tell the princess how pretty she looked…ah, but before I get to the punch line, I must describe my house as it likely appears, by night, to any passing Halloween Lilliputians.

The house sits on a fairly steep hill rising from the sidewalk. The car port, where Big Kitty sleeps is, as you might expect, well lighted. And the front door has a, well, adequate light beside it. But my lamp post is… absent. A few years ago, I discovered that when I turned it on, it was tripping the circuit breaker. Nothing wrong at the lamp post itself, except that it was pretty nasty looking. But the underground conduit had apparently been crunched over time, causing the short circuit. So, I had the unattractive and – worse – dysfunctional lamp post taken away.

Well, now that I am a member of the leisure set, guess I’m running out of excuses for getting a new lamp post and a new electrical line run deep under the grass.

So, not exactly a House and Garden Beacon of Welcoming Light with little twinkly white lights setting off the walkways…Oh, and no Halloween decorations. Just a modest harvest arrangement on the front door…

Back to the Little Princess…So, I’d just told her super-hero companion how scary he looked and was about to tell her how pretty she looked when she ups and says, “Not as scary as your house looks with no decorations.”

Out of the mouths of…

I guess I just didn’t have the heart to tell her how scary it looked before I filled in the moat and turned the moat monsters loose in the stream down the street…

Ah, but if I don’t have Halloween decorations, I can (and do) bask in the glow of my next door neighbors’ display.

I came outside last evening and was stopped in my tracks by a huge black cat with glowing eyes, his head scanning Carrleigh Parkway for any Mousemobiles upon which he could pounce. Next to the cat was an imposing pillar of glowing pumpkins from which was emanating the Halloween classic “Monster Mash.”

Yes, Jeff and Cheryl know how to “do” Halloween. Guess it has to do with their being young at heart. Oh, yes, and the fact they have a two year old grandson living nearby.

Couldn’t tell who looked more excited as the inflation of cat and pumpkins finished, Jeff or little Dante, who had encouraged Jeff to “blow up cat.”

Dante and his Mom, Alice, have a black cat too; but I suspect Jake is giving the big black cat a very wide berth…

Probably well, advised, as, when I came out this morning, there were four Mini wheel covers on the sidewalk…but no sign of the Mini. Just a big black cat with a Cheshire grin and, every now and then, a contented burp.

Guess my house does look “scary” by comparison, but what a nice Halloween.

PS: A sad note this Halloween, but one with lovely memories. As a young aspiring broadcaster, I listened regularly (from Baltimore) to the great old-line NBC radio station WRC in Washington. Back then, WRC simulcast its programs on AM and FM, and the FM station came in beautifully 40 miles up the road in Baltimore. So I got to listen to such superb music broadcasters as the great Mac McGarry…and Ed Walker and Willard Scott, who called themselves “The Joy Boys.” Ed and Willard always were in top form on Halloween, with lots of special music and live skits with music, sound effects, etc. What a talented pair they were…and always cordial and welcoming to young rookies like myself. They loved radio – at a time when radio was genuinely worth loving – and embodied a professionalism that was once to be admired and emulated.

Sadly, we lost Ed Walker just a few days before Halloween. In my many boxes of open reel tapes lurk many an air-check of Ed Walker and Willard Scott, including on Halloween, made by the star struck young broadcaster on his Ampex 1260 tape deck. I hope I’ll find one to play next Halloween. Thanks, Ed, for lots of great memories...and great Radio.

©2015 Steve Ember 

A quick look at Ed (and Willard!) at work.

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