Monday, October 31, 2011

The Ghosts of Halloweens Past….

It comes up every year at this time: the accusations, the recriminations, the denials. My younger son and I will start reminiscing about Halloweens past, and my husband will invariably start pouting about the year we ditched him. Said son and I always turn the tables and blame dad for being left behind, but it’s time to come clean.

We ditched him.

On Halloween younger son and his twin pals would take turns trick-or-treating in our oh-so-hilly neighborhood or their flat but spread out one.

The incident in question happened a year the boys headed out armed with pillowcases in our neighborhood, aptly named North HILLS. Husband and I followed at a discreet distance, saving our lungs for the long hauls up and down the streets.

The ‘gold at the end of the rainbow’ was a huge Victorian manse tucked away at the very bottom of the biggest hill. It was the ultimate Halloween destination, lit up with strings of lights, illuminated bats, cats, and assorted monsters. The owners were also legendary for handing out GIANT Hershey bars, the kind you buy only if you’re making S’mores for Bigfoot and his crowd.

The boys made quick work of the streets surrounding our house then were ready to head down the hills to the mother lode. It should be noted, our sprawling university town had set hours for trick or treating…after that the little munchkins (and Buzz Light Years and princesses and Spider Men) had to be off the streets. The college students would be heading out a few hours later for their version of trick or treating, but that’s another scary tale.

At a house just before the big descent to the big candy bars, we got held up. Dad started talking motorcycles with the homeowner and talking and talking and… Three eager boys and antsy mom me stood at the end of the long driveway waiting and waiting and… bolted.

Dad was on his own… curfew was a comin’.

Over hill and dale (and fence) we tromped until we reached our destination. It was a long trudge back up the hills to reach home. The big candy bars were forgotten as the boys participated in the annual ritual of candy swapping and scattering.

Yep, we ditched him. And if we had to do it over again, we’d do the same thing. No time for idle chatter when the treat is giant candy bars and the trick is growing up.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Writing your own life

Seems like forever since I’ve written a blog post. It’s not for lack of things to say, says me whose mother nicknamed her ‘satchel mouth’ as a child. Just the business of life keeps me preoccupied. And since ‘fiction writer’ is my occupation, some days I’d rather make things up than ponder truths.

Disclaimer: In another life, I was a journalist and taught reporting for many years and didn’t make anything up.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could write our own endings? Edit our shortcomings, failures, and yes successes?

Tweak yesterday, today, or tomorrow to get it just so….

The unpredictability of life is what makes it so…unpredictable. And worth living.

Sometimes the curve balls life lobs my way really tick me off, making me long for a do-over, a makeover, or just for whole seasons to be over.

Like this summer, which I spent ‘booted’ and cranky, recovering from ankle and foot surgery. I couldn’t wait for fall. Autumn arrived, at least calendar wise. As I sit avoiding work by pecking out this post, the slight breeze outside is wafting the 88-degree temps inside. I’m long out of the boot, but recovery continues, as does the crankiness.

On the positive side my gorgeous friend Franny (ten years my senior and beyond stunning inside and out), persuaded me (and it took a lot of persuading) to join her in water workouts at the Y. I love the instructor, the other women in the class, the workouts, and even the water.

So to continue in a cliché-ridden vein, every cloud does have a silver lining.

Got an e-mail from older son today, who’s studying in Seoul this semester. This is his third sojourn abroad, a journey that started when he was in high school – as I’ve chronicled before. Actually it probably started when fate and the financial woes of the Michigan public school systems led my administrator father to a job in Iowa more than 30 years ago. I transferred to Iowa State University and met my husband, he of the Viking blood, when we both worked at our college newspaper. His wanderlust runs strong in our firstborn.

We haven’t heard from Erik much because he’s so busy with classes and tutoring English. That and the time difference make finding a time to Skype difficult.

And, as he says in the last line of his note, with him no news is good news. This is a running joke in our family because often when he has news it has to do with wanting to go to:

  1. Europe (twice)
  2. Asia
  3. The moon (okay that one hasn’t come up yet, but I’m still waiting)

He’s writing his own life, as is his younger brother, and having the time of his life doing it.

As a mom, that truth makes me very happy indeed.