I spent the evening in the bosom of my family. Jon Jon is working in St Augustine and Laura is in town for Halloween Horror Nights. Lauren made dinner and we did what families do when they get together after being apart – a combination of catch up on current events, eye rolling similitude and reminiscence… Laughing with a touch of pathos at the all-suffering Fiona dressed in a devil headband, speaking in shorthand about the things no one else would really understand.
We were talking about Halloween and Jonathan reminded me that the last time we went to Halloween Horror Nights, when they were ten, I shoved him and his friend Grant in the path of a chainsaw wielding guy and ran into a knife store (where he followed us, giving me time to offer up the children again…). Laura said, “Sometimes I look around my house and think – what would it be like at Halloween if I hadn’t met Marilyn Spiller…” They have a small, animated butler, candy dish who says in a snooty British accent, “Don’t ask…” when you activate his sensor to reach for a Rolo. Laura’s daughter Bryce calls it “Auntie Mare’s candy dish” because I had one like it (about her size when she first visited my haunted house at Halloween a few years ago).
Halloween is my favorite holiday (although I don’t really like to be chased by actors with chain saws and I’m allergic to that fake smoke they pump everywhere at Universal – I actually hallucinate – nothing to do with the wine shooters I carried in my purse…). When the kids were younger, my house was always decorated with realistic, life sized serial killers and an array of smoking caldrons and candy bowls with grisly moving parts.
There were bats on the staircase, vultures on the mantles and spider webs stretched over doorways. A walk through the house set off a cacophony of warnings, witches’ cackles and evil laughs and could be genuinely terrifying when alone or in the dark. For “fun” (after a few glasses of wine) I’d turn all the decorations to “On” when I went to bed, forcing the children and guests to crawl like soldiers avoiding sniper fire, under the radar of the ornaments’ motion sensors, when they needed a bottle of water in the middle of the night.
I suppose its weird to you that there was a collective sigh last night – mixing memory with a desire for me to get my shit together to ratchet it back up for Halloween again… To make things like they used to be again. I know, I know guys the high holidays are a reminder that all is still not the way it’s supposed to be. Not all it was…
But I’m working on it. I promise I’m working on it…
Today I’m not drinking because I am trying to get it together for the high holidays, okay?