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Thursday, October 29, 2015

When Ronnie Met Sandy

Billy Crystal once said in the great movie When Harry Met Sally, “Men can never really be friends with women.” The implication? Men’s motivations tend to get in the way. But but by the end of the movie, Harry transforms and best friends Harry and Sally become. More importantly, happily married they end up. We assume anyway. There never was a sequel.

Mom always told me the key ingredient in a good marriage was humor. Dad never gave me advice on the making of a good marriage. But we did watch The Bold and Beautiful together. I learned quite a bit from that.

When a child looks back and mostly remembers joy, laughter, and a sense of security, a couple should feel a sense of accomplishment about their time together. There’s a reason I still hang around the house at the ripe old age of 46. The home I grew up in valued knowledge, generosity, work ethic, and comedy. All of these values were easily found in a bean field, at the kitchen table, or watching Saturday Night Live.

Fifty years! What a gift you have given us by celebrating fifty years of marriage. Thank you for enjoying each other’s differences, finding joy in the world together, and passing it on to the ones you love the most.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Profile of a Trick-or-Treater

As a country-dweller, I don't usually have the pleasure of handing out treats on Halloween. But thanks to Harvest Fest and my mother's shop on the square, I found myself in the fray of costume-adorning fiends last weekend. Not only did I find it FANTASTICALLY FUN, but I also found it to be a great study in sociology. Here are my findings.

Treat beggars can be divided into categories. Methinks these categories could possibly be indicators of one's future. Seriously. I think I saw glimpses of bankers, thespians, and, of course, robbers–sometimes all in the same clan. My classifications are fairly broad. But I think they're comprehensive.

The Sifter: This is the kid who holds up the line, digging through every kind of candy, or every flavor  to find the one she wants. "Do you have watermelon?" Even though there are twenty kids behind her, and her mom knows there are TWENTY KIDS BEHIND HER, you sift through the basket, looking for that elusive piece of watermelon candy. Why don't you take this yummy piece of Reese's I'm planting in front of you?I think to myself as she nonchalantly brushes it aside.  But then it's found! She nods knowingly at me as if to say, "I knew you could do it."  Her mother says, "What do you say?" But she doesn't need to say anything. She knows her presence was thanks enough. She's the girl who knows what she wants and how to get it. She'll let no one deter her vision. Forget Arendelle, this little Elsa will obviously be CEO of JP Morgan someday.

The Grabber: Two handfuls, five scoops–or as many as can be managed before Mom says, "STOP! THAT'S ENOUGH!" And then two more scoops after that. The little fish obviously thinks diabetes is an achievement to attain, or is quite possibly running an illegal candy shop and plans to sell his stash for pure profit. There might be some issues with this one's future. Despite the impressive display of dexterity with those fins. I'm just saying. This one's probably bound for someplace like...Etsy.

The Trickster: The only real trick we experienced this weekend were the repeat beggars. Obviously, we handled it. No damage was done in giving out the extra candy. The Trickster is really on the same page as the Grabber. Yet, the Trickster is smooth. She approaches, for a second or third time, with her costume slightly altered (a Scream mask, this time without the blood...), then she asks all politely, "Can I have one or two?" Of course it works! We know what she's doing, but what grouch shuts off candy for a kid? Especially one with a bloody Scream mask. (I won't speculate on the Trickster's future. Lots of options here.)

The Rule Follower: I wonder if Rule-Followers really have any fun at all on Halloween. I mean, they probably say they have fun because they think they are supposed to have fun. But there's a certain, tortured look on these souls. Their costumes are immaculate–and they are still wearing their hats or masks, otherwise, well, you know, it wouldn't be right. But what's most amusing about this group of kids is their willingness to communicate their values to the "other" kids. "Only take one piece!" "You already took one!" But really, they are a perfectly polite group of kids. After gingerly taking the top piece of candy, whether they like it or not, they look up to ensure their gratitude is noticed. "Thank you." It's sadly adorable. These kids will all be bankers someday. Most likely compliance officers.

In truth, there wasn't one kid I didn't lose my heart to just a little bit. No matter what the origins, Halloween has become a strangely celebratory holiday–for all ages. It's fun. It's strange. It can be spooky. But mostly, I think, it's a great way to celebrate our individuality.

Mom and Star Wars Fanboys. The kids loved us.