October's Artsy Essay contest hosted by Judith Heartsong is on. I think it's pretty incredible because she offers as a prize a piece of her artwork to the winner. So, if you haven't given it a try I highly recommend it. But, remember it's the fun of the writing not the winning that matters. :::cough-not-cough:::::
The theme for the essay is to describe your most memorable Halloween or fall memory. As such, you're probably wondering why I titled this entry as I did. Let me explain.
I'm sure all of you can relate. There is something that you did as a child that was beyond a doubt stupid and to this day is humiliating to recollect. You have it buried in the recesses of your consciousness. Once in a while, something will trigger your memory and it floats to the surface. You get this nauseated feeling in the pit of your stomach and glance to the left and right of you. You sigh with relief that no one else knows this about you because you're far removed from the bumbling idiot that you were as a child. And, you stuff it back in the closet of your mind and turn the key in the door with the hopes that it will finally drown in your dieing gray matter, along with the memories of pubescent acne and peeing the bed. Well, I'm not quite so fortunate. You see, I have the horrible misfortune to share this memory with my mother who finds utter delight in regaling those around her at my expense, and in my presence, every chance she gets. As such, this would be considered her favorite Halloween memory, but my most memorable because she refuses to allow me to forget.
I know you might find it implausible but when I was a little girl, I appeared to many as a sweet little angel. In comparison to my three raucous brothers, how could I not? I was the little girl who traipsed all over the neighborhood visiting the elderly occupants. What many didn't realize was I did it because they gave me goodies and I got their undivided attention, something hard-pressed to find in a single parent household when you were vying for attention amongst a gaggle of boys. Don't get me wrong. I loved my brothers and I gladly followed them around.
Now-a-days people would look at our group of friends as a troublesome youth gang. Back in the 70's we were just kids with too much time on our hands looking for inventive ways to occupy ourselves. Besides my three brothers and me, there were the two sons of the sheriff, and the Mulvihill boy, and his younger sister, Debbie. Debbie was a year or two older than I was but we were the best of friends. Debbie and I were often the look-outs for the guys as they doled out their childish pranks. There was the usual stuff like ringing doorbells and running, or playing Cowboys and Indians with real BB guns and bows and arrows. One of my favorites was when we would stand on the side of A1A and pretend like we were beating up Johnny, my little brother. A car would stop and everyone would take off running while Johnny laid writhing in pretend pain. He would stay there until the driver got out of his car to make his way to help him. Then Johnny would jump up, greet him with a raspberry, and take off running. I remember one such night we hid in the bushes for what seemed like an eternity because an angered driver circled the neighborhood for well over an hour hoping to catch us.
There was one year several days before Halloween when I was nine or ten, Debbie and I were playing at my house without the boys. I'm not sure who came up with what seemed like a brilliant prank at the time. However, I'm sure we both whole-heartedly agreed that it would be a prank that would show the boys that we weren't tag-alongs but mischief experts in our own right. Anyhow, Debbie and I decided it would be great fun if we each wrote a hoax letter to the little old lady who lived next door. The little old lady who often treated me, the sweet angelic neighbor-girl, to milk and cookies. Debbie and I each wrote a note that said something about her having to put a million dollars in her mailbox by midnight or else she would die. The lady had a guest house on her property that was vacant. Debbie and I decided to put our notes in there. We had just opened the door of the guest house when a neighbor across the street saw what we were doing and hollered at us to get out of there. In my nervousness, I threw the letter inside the house before closing the door and running off. We ran back to my house and collapsed on the bed giggling with excitement over what had just occurred. Except in Debbie's tightly clasped little hand remained her letter. I was mortified. I stood alone in this prank. But the dread quickly dissipated as we found some other activity to occupy ourselves with and the letter was forgotten.
Fast forward several days to Halloween. My brothers were in the front yard playing football while I was in my room playing. The sheriff's patrol car pulls up and my mother hops out of the passenger side, red in the face and screaming at my brothers to get in the house. I cowered in my room listening to the commotion. Apparently, the sheriff had went to my mother's work and picked her up to bring her home because they had received a call from the old lady regarding a death threat she had purportedly received that day. My brothers knowing nothing of my prank denied being involved. I'm not sure how, or who, finally revealed the truth that it was me, the sweet wide-eyed little angel, but I was found out. Luckily, being that I was a first time offender and obviously not a serious threat to society, the sheriff left, leaving it to my mother to assign an appropriate punishment. We were all grounded on the spot, all of us would be missing Halloween trick or treating festivities that night.
Besides the fact that this story embarrasses me to no end, I think my mother enjoys retelling it because even though it was clearly my fault, the little old lady refused to believe it. She thought I was taking the fall for my obnoxious brothers who she regularly tortured by stealing their football if it found its way into her yard. And, she continued to feed me, the devilish imp, milk and cookies.